Margrethe Vestager, European Comission

As the EU strives to stimulate growth in green and digital technologies, the European Commission introduced a new project last week to assist 100 deep technology companies become unicorns.

These "future tech champions" will be chosen from a pool of startups already participating in national and EU-led innovation programs across Europe. According to the EU executive, Margrethe Vestager, only the "best performing" startups would be selected.

Climate, energy, digital, and health startups will be chosen to help to Europe's green and digital transition. “Supporting scaleups is not only our best chance to produce home-grown tech giants: it is a critical choice for digital and energy resilience,” Vestager added.

“We will identify one hundred of Europe’s future tech champions, engage them, and provide them with support on their scaleup journey,” said EU tech head Margrethe Vestager, who unveiled the EIC Scale Up 100 program on June 1, 2023, at a deep tech conference in Stockholm.

The EIC Scaling Club, involving 100 investors from VC, growth, and government funds, 100 organizations with innovation departments, and 100 independent mentors, will provide assistance to the chosen startups.

In two years, the project seeks to assist startups expand by 40% in terms of value, new investments, partnerships, and jobs, and by 50% in terms of the same criteria for the top 20 performing firms.

“EIC Scale Up 100 will prove that Europe is the most attractive location for future global unicorns and their investors,” Vestager said.

EU member states and nations affiliated with the bloc's Horizon Europe scientific research project will be encouraged to suggest enterprises from their ecosystems, with participation contingent on the selection process.

The initiative is part of the New European Innovation Agenda, which was announced last year with the goal of increasing scaleup financing, cultivating deep tech skills, and implementing enhanced policy instruments.