26 March 2014

EYIF Attends Obama Remarks


News broke earlier this week: President of the U.S Barack Obama is coming to Europe for the European Union and United States summit. His agenda includes a meeting on a bilateral free-trade deal, as well as discussions on the situation in Ukraine. But here comes our news. On Wednesday 26th, Obama will give a speech at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels… and the European Young Innovators Forum have been invited to attend his remarks. A large delegation of more than 50 of our members will attend!

“This invitation recognises the importance of young people taking leadership to drive change in Europe, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and strengthening the transatlantic partnership”,  said EYIF President Kumardev Chatterjee. As a bit of background: the U.S and the E.U work on stimulating innovative ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit among young Europeans and Americans. This event reinforces the collaboration between them – and their shared views on it.

Promoting global innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Europe and US

The U.S Government and the European Commission have initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship and achieve growth and quality jobs. The former launched Startup America in 2011, a private-public alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, universities and corporations. The latter included Startup Europe in its Digital Agenda, an action plan that will improve the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs on our continent.

“Entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the idea that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country. And in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs”, said Obama when the White House launched the initiative. Since then, the administration have rolled out a set of policy initiatives, from unlocking access to capital to reducing barriers. The main idea behind it is, to put it simply, to speed up innovation in the country.

The same happens when we look at Europe! StartUp Europe is fully supported by European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes. Horizon 2020, the EU’s Innovation programme will dedicate 11% of its budget to fund innovative SMEs. “Europe isn’t Silicon Valley. Perhaps it never will be; perhaps it doesn’t need to be. But I do know that there’s a lot we can learn from the American attitude: the respect and recognition they afford to entrepreneurs, the huge rewards from being able to take risks and innovate. And also the courage to challenge the established order”, said Kroes when she launched the Startup Europe Leader’s Club as a part of the whole plan.

We need to shake up Europe! Too often, we make policies on the basis of what the established players tell us. We need a voice for the tech startups in Europe. To fight for them. I would hope that established successful entrepreneurs can raise their hands and convince others to do the same. And launch a movement to say that the future is digital and that we need the right policies to support it”, she added.

The InnoYear

As you already know, EYIF is partnering with the European Commission, European Parliament, U.S Department of State and strategic corporate partners to drive change through youth empowerment for the InnoYear: the year we celebrate the innovation in Europe. As another example on how both administrations encourage entrepreneurship together these days in November, EYIF participated in a seminar organized by the US Mission in Europe to develop new approaches to tackling the big youth unemployment challenge. Innovation and entrepreneurship were, of course, a great part of the agenda.

Do you have any questions or comments?

What would you ask to Obama? Is there something you would like us to know? Feel free to comment – we’d like to hear you as well.

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