EU Startup Act
22 October 2015

EYIF’s European Startup Act: 5 recommendations to drive the European startup ecosystem

This week marked the launch of EYIF’s European Startup Act 2020 with a number of presentations including at the European Commission. The European Startup Act 2020 is the culmination of close work with the European startup ecosystem and in-depth analysis of current trends in regulation, financing opportunities and entrepreneurial skills. The objective is to make Europe the place to be for startups and entrepreneur both from Europe and across the world with 5 realistic recommendations.

In our Vision 2020, we have outlined the impact we expect from the introduction of these recommendations, alongside other measures, to really support the fostering of a comprehensive European startup ecosystem: 250 000 new startup jobs per year; 10 000 new startups per year; 2 000 new seed stage funded startups per year; and 9.5% of total European GDP being generated by startup activity. These are just some of the results we are searching for.

European economies attach the lowest social value on entrepreneurship of anywhere in the world. In addition, European entrepreneurs possess the greatest fear of failing in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem. Here are our 5 recommendations to reverse this negative trend:

  1. Accessible Finance for Entrepreneurs

Adequate sources of finance are crucial throughout the life of a startup. However, the availability of finance has not reached pre-crisis level despite some signs of recovery. With this recommendation EYIF has recommended three actions aimed at increasing the availability of finance in the EU. We suggest the simplification of regulation in the alternative finance market, the expansion of risk guarantee programmes to increase foreign VC investment and the expansion of public finance initiatives supporting startups and SMEs, with a particular focus on the expansion of Phase 3 of the SME Instrument.

  1. Simplified Startup Creation

From Member State to Member State there is a great deal of variance in terms of company types and registration procedures. This makes the creation of startups unnecessarily burdensome and can also create long-term difficulties in attracting investment. Four actions can radically improve the procedural burden on the European startup community. First, standardise and digitalise the registration procedure for all private companies, second harmonise minimum capital requirements for all company forms and third, simplify the European VAT rules for startups. All these actions should move towards the ultimate objective of creating a single company vehicle for startups available in all Member States.

  1. Entrepreneurial Exchange

Attracting the best global entrepreneurs to Europe is crucial to achieving the competitive environment we all want to be part of in Europe. Furthermore, if our European entrepreneurs are to become the next global leaders, it is necessary that they gain experience in ecosystems outside Europe. These principles underpin the two measures we outline with regard to entrepreneurial exchange. On the one hand, we would like to see an extension of the EU Blue Card to entrepreneurs. On the other hand, we see expansion of entrepreneurial exchange programmes beyond Europe as crucial to the development of our home-grown talent.

  1. E-Skills for All

Europe must see an increase in the uptake of digital skills over the next 5 years if our labour market is to remain globally competitive. A highly-skilled labour market makes Europe a more attractive location for global entrepreneurs. Thus, we recommend the expansion of the E-Skills for Jobs programme and, in parallel, a greater emphasis from the institutions on the benefits and availability of E-Skills initiatives to all relevant actors.

  1. Geo-Unblocking

We have all experienced the inconvenience of not being able to access content when we cross EU borders and, in the provision of digital services, we are still far from the creation of a single market. Two measures could change the game in this respect. The creation of a single European copyright title is key and has been a central focus for the European Commission. EYIF would like to see this supplemented by the enforcement of competition rules in relation to the sale of licenses which restrict the use of a copyright to a confined territory.

These are our key recommendations to drive the European startup ecosystem forward and allow our European entrepreneurs to develop and grow in a competitive environment. We will be taking these recommendations to all the key policy players over the coming months. Check out the facts and stats we have collated and a full explanations of our proposals in the full document available on our website.