As has been mentioned on the FutureEverything blog previously there has been a fair bit of published research outlining the value to the economy both at a UK and European level. The recently published Shakespeare adds to this by outlining several emerging or soon to emerge business models that will realise this value.

It is within this context that FutureEverything is heavily involved in building capacity within the digital community through a number of programmes. European projects such as CitySDK and the running of hack and innovation events such as Routes to the Future: An Innovation Challenge highlight the need for support for developers and emerging digital businesses in the new data economy and this is where Apps For Europe comes in.

Apps For Europe is a project that seeks to promote the best ideas that come out these event by exposing them to a larger European audience. It has been widely acknowledged that one of the enablers for the creation of new ideas and services is access to new markets and the creation of market size that would enable nascent ideas to become viable businesses.  The programme creates an environment through local Business Lounges where start ups can get advice from business mentors and funders. Through this process the most viable start ups are chosen and then supported to enter an annual pan-European pitching event taking place at FutureEverything in 2014 and 2015.

We took three of the winning teams for March’s Innovation Challenge to the Business Lounge being held as part of Hack de Overheid in Amsterdam’s City Hall on the 29th June. The FutureEverything contingent consisted of companies from Newcastle – ioDatalabs, Helsinki – Busfaster and Manchester – Fox Dog Studios. All at different stages of developing their businesses all with a desire to internationalise their work. Find out about the winning applications on the Innovation Challenge pages.

Through the Business Lounge companies were matched with business experts and funders who were able to advise on how to develop their business further. The lounge seemed to work smoothly and although the sessions the companies participated in where quite brief it was a useful process in being able to explain and sell ideas to an international audience. After the winners of the Business Lounge were announced the opportunity to network with fellow developers and businesses from Amsterdam seemed to bring about the most interesting conversations. With events of this type the Business Lounge brought people together but it is people interested in other peoples’ work that produces the most interesting results and hopefully there will be some collaborations that will spin out.

The diversity and standard of business ideas showcased highlighted the space for innovation created and the desire to build good products from open data. Of particular note was LawCat, a service that provided social annotation of legislature, creating a knowledge base of the usage of Dutch law. The eventual winner was i-Kringloop enabling peer to peer exchanges of unwanted items. The application notified a community of users and participating charities and if the item wasn’t claimed after two days it would then create a message for city disposal.

Neelie Kroes – Commissioner for the Digital Agenda who sits on the Apps4Europe advisory panel talks about the project here:

If you are interested in supporting the Apps For Europe Pitching Event at the FutureEverything Festival in 2014 contact,info@futureeverything.org.