Accelerator – an accelerator is a fixed-term programme that usually lasts from three to twelve months, and provides a combination of education, mentoring, and networking, often with investment. It is distinct from other forms of investment and incubation, such as angel investing, grants, or incubators.
Alternative finance – A range of products emerging outside of traditional banking for businesses that have difficulties in accessing banking loans because of their high-risk business plans, e.g. peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, marketplace lending and initial coin offering (ICO).
Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Artificial intelligence involves using computers to do things that traditionally require human intelligence. This means creating algorithms to classify, analyse, and draw predictions from data. It also involves acting on data, learning from new data, and improving over time.
Big data – Big data is a field that treats ways to analyse, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software.
Blockchain – a blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data, allowing the system to record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.
Business angels – high net worth individuals who usually provide smaller amounts of finance at an earlier stage than many venture capital funds are able to invest.
Competence centres or centres of excellence – Singular repositories of knowledge and resource pools for multiple business areas acting a) under a framework of a certain legal entity, b) as associations that are based on innovative cooperation between the public authorities, research and development institutions and enterprises, c) as a consortium of several research groups internationally recognised in their field of research.
Convertible notes – Short-term debts that convert into equity at an established period of time. By loaning money, the investor expects not a financial return with an interest rate, but rather a position within the company through a predefined acquisition of shares.
Cluster – Groups of firms, related economic actors, and institutions that are located near each other and have reached a sufficient scale to develop specialised expertise, services, resources, suppliers and skills. Within clusters, vertical collaboration (subcontracting) takes place among economic agents that specialise on different stages of the value chain, while horizontal collaboration (joint projects) takes place among economic agents that provide complementary resources, and informal linkages enable quick learning. Thus, competition and collaboration coexist in the clusters and provoke innovations.
Cluster organisations – The legal entities that support the strengthening of collaboration, networking and learning in innovation clusters, and act as innovation support providers by providing or channelling specialised and customised business support services to stimulate innovation activities, especially in SMEs. They are usually the actors that facilitate strategic partnering across clusters.
Crowdfunding – the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via Internet platforms.
Crowdsourcing – the practice of engaging a ‘crowd’ or group for a common goal — often innovation, problem solving, or efficiency. It is powered by new technologies, social media and web 2.0 (e.g. traffic apps encourage drivers to report accidents and other roadway incidents to provide real-time updated information to app users).
Digital Innovation and Scale-up Initiative (DISC) – The DISC was initially launched by the EU in the Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe region, and aims to address the investment gap in digital innovations and to support the scale-up of digital start-ups in the region. EU4Digital is supporting its extension to the EaP region.
Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) – Digital Innovation Hubs are one-stop-shops that help companies to become more competitive with regard to their business/production processes, products or services using digital technologies. They are based on technology infrastructure and provide access to the latest knowledge, expertise and technology to support their customers with piloting, testing and experimenting with digital innovations. DIHs also provide business and financing support to implement these innovations, if needed across the value chain.
Digital transformation – A fusion of advanced technologies and the integration of physical and digital systems, the predominance of innovative business models and new processes, and the creation of smart products and services.
Ecosystem for digital innovations – An interconnected network formed by people, start-ups and companies in their various stages, and various types of organisations interacting as a system to create and support digital innovations.
Ecosystem builders – Ecosystem actors who play a role in creating an inclusive network of entrepreneurs in the local community through running a co-working space, mentoring young entrepreneurs or organising networking events, play a role in government and are involved in making the policy that effects start-ups, or play a role in the innovation and entrepreneurship infrastructure and service menu.
European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator – The EIC Accelerator is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot that supports top class innovators, entrepreneurs and small companies with funding opportunities and acceleration services.
Fablab – A fablab (fabrication laboratory) is a small-scale workshop offering (personal) digital fabrication. A fablab is typically equipped with an array of flexible computer-controlled tools, with the aim to make ‘almost anything’.
High risk digital innovations – New ideas based on disruptive technologies coupled with business model changes that need quick introduction into the market.
ICT – Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extensional term for information technology (IT) that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications and computers, as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage and audiovisual systems, that enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.
Innovation ecosystem – An “innovation ecosystem” is the term used to describe the various players, stakeholders, and community members that are critical for innovation. It includes universities, government, corporations, start-up accelerators, venture capitalists, private investors, foundations, entrepreneurs, mentors, and the media.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) – Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
Internet of Things (IoT) – The Internet of Things describes the network of physical objects – ‘things’ – that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.
Mentoring – A partnership between two people built on trust, in which the mentor (senior/experienced individual) offers on-going support and developmental opportunities to the mentee (junior/less experienced individual).
Mentorship or mentoring programme – A structured, often one-to-one relationship in a work, organisation, or academic setting. A well-functioning mentorship programme requires strategic planning and organisation to connect people, increase knowledge and build skills for future goals and milestones.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending – the practice of lending money to individuals or businesses through online services that match lenders with borrowers.
Regulatory sandbox – A controlled environment in which innovation in high technologies can take place while providing safeguards to manage risks. For example, regulatory sandboxes for alternative finance enable banks and FinTech players to experiment with innovative financial products or services by removing unnecessary regulatory barriers and reducing the time of bringing new ideas to market.
Robotics – an interdisciplinary research area at the interface of computer science and engineering that involves the design, construction, operation, and use of robots. The goal of robotics is to design intelligent machines that can help and assist humans in their day-to-day lives and keep everyone safe.
Seed funding – the money usually raised by private investors for the early start-up development stage. Funding is usually provided in exchange for an equity stake in the company or for a share in the profits of a product.
Series A funding – An investment in a privately held start-up company after it has shown progress in building its business model and demonstrates the potential to grow and generate revenue. Usually, Series A financing comes from well-established venture capital (VC).
Soft loans – A loan with a below-market rate of interest and prolonged repayment duration. These represent a convenient and flexible means of funding for start-ups as they create suitable conditions for risky entrepreneurial investments.
Start-up – A start-up is a young company founded by one or more entrepreneurs to develop a unique product or service and bring it to market. By its nature, the typical start-up tends to be a shoestring operation, with initial funding from the founders or their friends and families.
Scale-up – A high-growth company, defined as a company that has achieved growth of 20% or more in either employment or turnover year on year for at least two years, and with a minimum employee count of 10 at the start of the observation period.
SME – Small- and Medium-sized Enterprise.
SMEs 4.0 competence centres – A tool helping SMEs as they accumulate specific expertise required for implementation of the digital transformation, linking the deep tech knowledge, the knowledge of specifics of production and business processes in different industries, and the knowledge of innovation management and business transformation.Venture capital – Pooled investment funds that manage the money of investors who seek private equity stakes in start-ups and SMEs with strong growth potential. These investments are generally characterised as very high-risk/high-return opportunities.