Start-ups and the proposed EU AI Act: Bridges or Barriers in the path from Invention to Innovation? Tomada Letizia Start-ups and small-scale providers play a crucial role in our tech and innovation-driven society. The advent of artificial intelligence may represent either a driving force or an insurmountable challenge for their growth and the setup of an AI regulatory framework is decisive in determining whether small-scale providers will encounter bridges or barriers during their innovation life-cycle. In this context, this article questions whether the recent European Commission proposal for a Regulation laying down harmonised rules on artificial intelligence (AI Act) presented on 21 April 2021 would, in practice, represent a catalyst or a hindrance to the AI innovation of start-ups. It presents the challenges that AI may pose for small-scale providers and analyses selected AI provisions in light of their needs and vulnerabilities. Further, it questions to what extent the envisaged measures in support of innovation are suited to tackle the current challenges and proposes new ways to construe more bridges in the path from Invention to Innovation. Artificial Intelligence EU AI Act Innovation Start-ups 340 periodical academic journal JIPITEC 13 1 2022 52 66 2190-3387 urn:nbn:de:0009-29-55118 http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0009-29-55118 tomada2022