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European data research groups are encouraging enterprises to form collaborative data-sharing alliances with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups, as part of the newly launched Data Pitch project.

The initiative, funded by the European Union’s (EU’s) Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, will see enterprises work closely with smaller firms to share best practice about how to use their business data to help them launch new services and solve societal issues.

Open Data Institute CEO Jeni Tennison said encouraging enterprises and startups to team up and share their data through the project stands to benefit all involved.

“Startups have the skills, agility and energy to create novel and innovative solutions using data. Corporates need to understand the benefits of publishing and sharing data to take advantage of this innovation,” said Tennison.

“Data Pitch will allow both corporates and startups to experiment with ways of encouraging open innovation using data in a safe environment.”

The three-year programme will see around 50 SMEs and startups receive a share of €4.8M in funding to support the growth of their businesses during its course.

The project will be accepting invitations to join Data Pitch from 1 July 2017, with the first cohort of successful applicants set to enter the programme for a programme for a period of six months from December 2017. 

Participants will also be invited to take part in mentoring exercises and offered investment opportunities, as well as being handed access to the data generated by larger enterprises and public sector organisations too for research purposes.

Spearheaded by the University of Southampton, The Open Data Institute (ODI), Portuguese-based startup support provider Beta-I and data marketplace place supplier, Dawex, its work is designed to build on the success of the Open Data Incubator Europe (Odine) programme.

This project saw seven European startups and SMEs handed EU funding amounting to €650,000 in 2015 to support their use of Open Data.

As well as startups and SMES, the Data Pitch organisers are also calling on other organisations to get involved by signing up to share their data with the University of Southampton and its innovation lab.

The collective aim of all these initiatives is to create a continent-wide “innovation ecosystem”, the organisers claim, that will enable enterprises, startups and other stakeholders to use their data for both economic and societal gain.

Expanding on this theme, Elena Simperl, professor at University of Southampton and Data Pitch project director, said the programme will help enterprises weighed down with big data make better use of it.

In the digital age, every organisation, public or private, big or small, generates and owns substantial data assets. Not all them have the opportunity to use this data effectively,” said Simperl.

“With Data Pitch, we take an established open innovation model and apply it at European scale – we pair some of the most creative entrepreneurial minds in 28 countries and help them to solve data challenges that matter – for the economy, for the environment, for science and for society as a whole.”

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