For the European Union, economically speaking, it is essential to create an entrepreneurial framework in which big ideas can thrive and grow. Although European SMEs already “produce 58% of EU GDP and account for 67% of all jobs in the private sector” according to the European Commission, there is still a great deal of room for improvement.
Whilst much is happening at the national level to encourage entrepreneurship, there is a need for greater action at the European level. At the European Young Innovators Forum (EYIF) we have illustrated the impact we would like to witness in the European entrepreneurial ecosystem in our Vision 2020:
new startup jobs per year
new startups per year
new seed stage funded startups a year
startups per year in global top ten lists
growth stage funded startups per year
of the market covered by startups jobs
of total EU GDP from startup activity
The European venture capital (VC) and lending markets have struggled since the 2008 financial crisis but have shown some signs of improvement in the last two years. However, there have been a number of sources which have supplemented these traditional markets, including alternative finance and European funding schemes. To encourage financial support for entrepreneurs, the EU must simplify regulation in the area of alternative finance and expand European programmes funding entrepreneurship, whilst encouraging foreign VC investment in Europe.
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. To remedy this the EU should accelerate the process of harmonisation in the field of company law with the end goal of creating a single European private company format which would act as the main vehicle for the incorporation of startups. This includes the harmonisation and digitalisation of registration procedures, the harmonisation of minimum capital requirements and simplification of the current VAT regime.
There have been a number of efforts on the national level to attract foreign entrepreneurs and provide national entrepreneurs with experience from abroad. European action on this issue should be reinforced to support national measures and make them more efficient by, for example, the extension of the EU Blue Card to entrepreneurs. Policies should be pursued to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to relocate to Europe and encourage European entrepreneurs to gain experience elsewhere to improve their European businesses and enhance the innovation process.
Europe is still suffering from a major deficit in digital skills to support, in particular, growing digital startups. This is leading to unnecessary gaps in the job market which could be filled by the growing number of unemployed remaining in many Member States. The EU thus needs to continue to expand the campaign to equip the labour market with the necessary digital skills to fill these gaps.
In the provision of digital services, we are still far from the creation of a single market. Services continue to be confined to national borders and far too often consumers are unable to access content when they move from Member State to Member State. This is particularly true in the case of the audio-visual sector. To ensure these services are available as uniformly as possible, EYIF supports the position of the Commission taken in the Digital Single Market Strategy to modernise copyright law and implement a European standard. EYIF also advocates, to complement this, a targeted competition policy ensuring the prohibition of agreements for licenses which prohibit sales of services outside licensed territories.
EYIF will present the European Startup Act in Milan at an innovation-focused event in the framework of ￼Horizon 2020 – Opportunità per imprese, ricerca e innovazione.
EYIF will present the European Startup Act to representatives of 28 EU member states at the Council of the EU
EYIF will present the European Startup Act throughout the ICT week in Lisbon.
EYIF will present the European Startup Act at President’s Dinner at Palais d’Egmont hosted by Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg (Luxembourg Presidency of the EU) and Etienne Davignon, Belgian Minister of State and former European Commission Vice-President
EYIF will present the European Startup Act at the State of Europe high-level roundtable “Addressing Europe’s crises – Six Policy Crossroads” under the patronage of the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU (http://www.friendsofeurope.org/event/state-europe-2015/)
EYIF organises a Policy Roundtable at the European Parliament within the framework of the European Startup Act