The 2020 InnoSTARS International Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, a program dedicated to scientific cooperation and internationalization of foreign startups and SMEs, took place in Qingdao on December 29. The final phase of the competition included the presentation of 13 innovative startups from Italy, Canada, the United States, Japan, Russia, New Zealand, Israel, and the United Kingdom.
On the Chinese side, the activities were promoted by the Qingdao Municipal Science and Technology Bureau and the China Association for International Science and Technology Cooperation (CAISTC) with the support of the International Technology Transfer Network (ITTN) in collaboration with SPICI for the Italian participation by SPICI.
Located in eastern China, Qingdao is one of the country’s most important port cities and it holds a strategic position within the Belt and Road Initiative. With a population of over 9 million inhabitants and a GDP that reached 150 billion euros in 2019, Qingdao is known for its activities related to technological innovation and marine research.
The startups that took part in the program belonged to 4 key categories related to innovation (Biotechnology & Health-related Innovations; AI & Advanced High-tech Manufacturing; ICT & Smart Transportation; New Energy, Sustainable Development and Green Innovation) and had the opportunity to present their technologies in front of an audience of 150 experts.
There were 3 Italian startups participating in the final. Inesse has developed a high-tech boat that uses the “Foils” system and has a semi-autonomous driving system capable of optimizing navigation settings according to environmental conditions. eProInn has created a kit to convert conventional cars into hybrid-solar vehicles in order to reduce fuel consumption, while Rdots uses laser scanning technology to offer a digital database that simplifies the management, protection and study of the artistic and cultural heritage.
The presentations of the other foreign startups were also very interesting. 3 business projects stepped onto the podium. The first classified, Newsight Imaging, is an Israeli startup specializing in 3D imaging; the second is Videointellect, a Russian company that provides video analytic solutions which in real time enhance the security standards of public places and industrial facilities, and the third winner, Yokohama, is a Japanese startup specializing in the advanced manufacturing sector.
The program also involved various operators of the Chinese and international innovative ecosystem including entrepreneurs, investors, academics, researchers, accelerators, companies and institutional representatives from China, Italy, Germany and Korea. On the Italian side, Vincenzo Lipardi, President of SPICI, presented the company, the cooperation programs active with China, the “Leonardo Hub” internationalization support platform and the ambitious “Huawei Digital Innovation Hub” as well as the potential areas of international cooperation.