J-1 Soft Landing Program
Overview and Objectives
The ENRICH Soft Landing program serves as a platform through which European tech entrepreneurs from Europe - and from Associated Countries - can test their offer and launch their ventures in North America at reduced risks and costs in a welcoming industry-focus ecosystem and vetted network at a Research University’s incubator or "Innovation Center".
The Objectives are to:
- Enter a targeted ecosystem by sending your first champion to North America with temporary/low cost visa solutions;
- Run Proof of Concept and Pilots;
- Meet new strategic partners and potential clients;
- Reimagine your product/solution’s roadmap, R&D and IP strategy, design, delivery, and packaging for a North American market;
- Access local funding and grant for research and commercialization.
During an average of 24 months (up to 5 years), the Innovators/Entrepreneurs/tech SMEs will explore one ecosystem within the ENRICH Network Centers and Specialized Hubs. This structured program includes mentoring, consulting, training, events/activities, and a dedicated desk with an average of 12-15 hours a month of services between the ENRICH staff and coordinator, mentors and the SBDC consultant (for the USA only)*.
*The ENRICH in the USA Soft Landing Program, offers desk in a US University Incubator, and gives access to its connected Small Business Development Center (SBDC) services. Partially funded by the U.S. Government Agency Small Business Administration (SBA), the SBDC Network; is the largest and most successful network of assistance to the small- and medium-size enterprises in the United States supporting annually more than $4 billion in new sales and $3 billion in new financing for over 750,000 clients-businesses.
Program Components & Commitments
Our program is designed around 4 main components:
Mentor Round Table: monthly 90-min mentors (3 to 5 in average) round table moderated by an ENRICH coordinator, for the USA with the support of an SBDC consultant;
ENRICH Soft Landing Team: A dedicated support team throughout your project launch and implementation of your activities in the US that will prepare for the arrival (and departure) of you and your team. We will also provide grant application support and introduce you to transatlantic funding opportunities (i.e. equity-based accelerator programs, angel investors, early stage VCs, Corporate VCs, etc); in partnership with Enterprise Europe Network, and in close collaboration with local and national US and Canadian institutions, States/Cities’ Economic Development Agencies, and funding sources for research and innovation;
A Local Hub: A dedicated desk at a university-based incubator, administrative support (and supervision if you choose the US J-1 trainee visa program), technical and administrative support, visa hosting and/or sponsoring;
ENRICH Online Community Platform: Priority access to sign-up to all ENRICH calls, events and activities, and direct access to the ENRICH Network of Mentors and Ambassadors.
In addition, in the US, research universities are opened up to European Entrepreneurs via their Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). The participants in our Soft-Landing program in the US can take advantage of the local SBDC selected by ENRICH to be associated with their local hub. ENRICH in the USA especially partners with SBDCs hosted by leading research universities which are highly trained to work with tech entrepreneurs. Each SBDCs is part of a large network of 950+ centers across the US serving +750,000 small-and medium-size enterprises annually.
Each SBDCs provide free of charge services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Their consulting team will assist you in key areas that are critical to growing your business and building a strong foundation for success. This includes a review of your market entry/business plan, legal clinics, access to US companies database as needed, and on-demand one-on-one technical and managerial assistance with a dedicated SBDC consultant. This one-on-one consulting is confidential and provided at no charge by a staff of skilled professionals.
In exchange for these services, your team is committing to:
Define with ENRICH staff the agenda for monthly mentor roundtables and review the meeting minutes prepared for you;
Follow up and execute on the action items and high-level introductions (by Mentors) from the sessions;
Keep your profile on ENRICH platform updated and track your quaterly KPIs;
Respect the lease agreement / conditions defined by your chosen Soft Landing Hub (conditions may vary by Hub;
Communicate and share documents with your ENRICH support team via Microsoft Teams (in a dedicated Team;
Depending on the visa option, your US Representative may be required to do a weekly cultural/networking/training activity provided by the University and ENRICH, and to spend a minimum of 50% of his/her time at the chosen office;
Have an active membership with your local bi-national chamber or the chamber/networking organization recommended by the ENRICH team.
Additionally, for the US soft landing :
Sign up for SBDC services via their dedicated platform (i.e. Neossera) and answer their quarterly survey;
Plan at least one SBDC one-on-one consulting session per month;
Depending on the location and the size of the desk/office, from USD 1,400 to USD 2,500 per month, quarterly paid to Temple University SBDC, the ENRICH lead coordinator in the United States.
How to Apply
To apply, simply fill out the application form on F6S - link below. We will be in touch after reviewing your application.
To see our J-1 vetted incubators - please visit our Soft Landing Hubs page.