On 29 June 2021 the CEO of Technoport was appointed Vice-President of the European Business and Innovation Center Network (EBN). This marks the first time that Luxembourg holds such a high position in the Brussels-based non-profit. In an interview with Silicon Luxembourg, Diego De Biasio talks about his ambitions for the community of incubators in the Grand-Duchy and in Europe.
Photo: De Biasio will hold the position for the coming two years / Image Credits: Olivier Minaire / Silicon Luxembourg
Technoport’s CEO Diego De Biasio has been elected vice-president of the European Business and Innovation Center Network (EBN) by the Board of Directors on the 29th of June.
The non-profit pan-European global community of organizations supports innovative businesses as a driver for regional (economic) development. It claims around 150 full members and associate members, who operate in 33 countries.
Its initiatives include the EU|BIC certification (for full members), the development and distribution of quality business support programs, the facilitation and initiation of collaborative international projects, as well as global networking activities.
De Biasio will hold the position for the coming two years.
Technoport joined the network almost from the start. “Back in 1998, when the incubator was launched in Belval, we consulted EBN to validate that our plans were well aligned with existing models and standards,” its CEO recalls. “In 2002, we decided to join the board of directors and formally represent Luxembourg in the association”. We are currently the only Grand-Duchy-based member of the organization.”
How did it come to your nomination?
It is common practice that the newly elected president, this year Cristina Fanjul from BIC Asturia in Spain, suggests a vice-president to the other board members at the start of his/her mandate. Cristina contacted me to discuss my availability for this position and I must say that after being a member of the board for almost 14 years it was a honor and natural next step for me to say yes.
She then submitted the proposal to the board that finally approved it. It is the first time that the Grand Duchy will take such role in EBN. My ambition is now to continue to contribute to the development of the association.
“There is so much expertise and knowledge within this network, that we need to make sure to share it among the biggest number of members possible.”
What will be your exact role?
I think that it will entail the typical roles and functions of a Vice-President in terms of representation of the network and also support to the president and the overall association.
Now this said the governance model of EBN is structured in a way that both the president and vice-president are also automatically part of the executive board of directors, a sub-group of the board, which basically elaborates, drafts and discusses some strategic topics, that were selected by the board. This work is done with the CEO of the association before submitting the results for final approval.
In this Executive Committee, we tackle issues such as the future development of the association, the acquisition of new members, the development of new innovation services for members as well as the future of the certification and quality process just to name a few.
A very interesting exercise intellectually considering the differences of economic and political realities of our members throughout the association.
What are EBN’s major challenges today? What is your plan for the coming years?
There is so much expertise and knowledge within this network, that we need to make sure to share it among the biggest number of members possible. This can only be achieved progressively of course by focusing on a few priorities.
These priorities should be driven by a bottom-up approach and transformed into added-value services that have a concrete impact in the daily work of these organizations.
In recent years the network went through several changes and a lot of restructuring at the level of the management and within the operational team. This took a lot of efforts, but I am really confident that we achieved to stabilize it and that we are on the right track now to focus again 100% on this overall mission to be an association of members for members.
What does EBN bring to the Technoport?
A lot. For us it has always been crucial to be part of such international networks. EBN is just one of them but it’s the first we joined so it remains kind of special. We have been able to meet great people and professionals all over these years, we participated in international projects, were able to visit organizations all over Europe and even further and I was lucky to act as a peer reviewer within the quality review system that exist and distinguishes EBN from other networks. It also positioned Luxembourg on the map of new, innovative business incubation models and even more after we changed our organizational structure in 2012.
“I must confess that I would love to see some more members of Luxembourg joining in the near future too.”
You also hosted their annual congress back in 2018 ? How did that happen?
Indeed – every year the annual congress is held in a different location and members have to apply to organize it. We thought it would be a great idea to combine that with our 20th anniversary and I must say that it has been a great experience. It has by far been the biggest event we ever organized at Technoport.
Over a period of almost 3 days filled with presentations, pitching sessions, workshops and keynote speeches we were able to gather in total over 600 people from entrepreneurs, innovation practitioners to officials from the EBN network but also stakeholders from the local ecosystem.
Are all European countries well represented in the Network?
Certainly not and this is another important evolution we are striving at. On top of delivering new services to members the goal is to broaden the membership base with newcomers in specific countries that we do not cover well today. I must confess that I would love to see some more members of Luxembourg joining in the near future too and I will certainly initiate some discussions with a few of them.
Let’s see what the coming years will bring us but like we say here in Luxembourg : Let’s make it happen!