Europe needs more digital entrepreneurs!
Europe needs more digital entrepreneurs!

The European Commission (EC) has launched a series of initiatives to stimulate economic growth and boost employment by helping tech entrepreneurs in Europe develop their innovative technological ideas and create web applications. The EC established these “Europe 2020” initiatives with 5 strategic objectives to be reached by 2020. The aim is to help more small companies and startups enter the market with innovative products and services related to new technologies and the Internet, and create digital jobs  across the EU for a smart and sustainable economy.

European digital Commissioners support web entrepreneurs

Advanced technology and entrepreneurship are often associated with the USA and Silicon Valley. But the European Union has its own exciting technology hubs in London, Berlin and Helsinki, which are becoming successful startup ecosystems thanks to their creative and talented people.

Currently, 45% of Europeans say they would like to be their own boss, but many fear to start their own business because of the economic crisis in Europe. To encourage men and women of all ages to create their own job, become their own boss and generate jobs in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the former European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, Mrs Neelie Kroes, initiated the  ‘startup Europe’ campaign in 2010. The aim of this campaign is to create all types of opportunities within the European technology innovation sector and to facilitate better access to EU networks, financial resources and information for web entrepreneurs. 

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European Commission-funded projects and key organisations are listed below:

1) to connect digital people, businesses and associations in the startup ecosystem across the EU:

- The EU Accelerators Assembly  is a network of startup accelerator programmes for tech entrepreneurs and policy makers who share their knowledge and information.

-The European Crowd Funding Network offers access to funding opportunities for web entrepreneurs. 

2) to inspire young tech entrepreneurs and help them meet role models:

- The Leaders' Club is a group of  9 prominent entrepreneurs who advise the EU on how to improve conditions for talented people to start a company and stay in Europe. 

- The Founders' Forum is a community of the most inspiring digital entrepreneurs and key investors in media and technology.

3) to help young entrepreneurs expand their online business:

- The  Startup Europe Partnership connects top European startups with leading corporates to help them grow on a larger scale.

- The StartUpEuropehub:  provides innovative startups access to services such as mentorship, networking and legal assistance through 7 EU-funded projects.

4) to award new and innovative European startups:

Europioneer: the European entrepreneur of the year awards ceremony

Tech All Stars is a competition between 12 of the best and brightest startups in Europe.

- The  Startup Europe Roadshow  highlights success stories of young European entrepreneurs.

5) two significant documents were published under the startup Europe initiatives:

- The  Startup Europe Manifesto : 22 essential points divided into five themes: education and skills; access to talent; access to capital; data policy and privacy; and thought leadership.

Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan : 6 actions to facilitate a more prosperous environment for entrepreneurs, such as simplified administration processes and easier access to financial support during the business life-cycle.

6) other initiatives from the European Union to strengthen the business environment for startups:

-The Fiware Accelerator Programme helps launch an innovative web app or create a startup in multiple sectors.

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs offers the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in a European country.

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From 2010 to 2014, the former European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, was dedicated to empowering men and women to develop digital skills and create more jobs in Europe. To build upon her hard work, the European Commission has decided to appoint not one but two “Digital Commissioners” in November 2014:  Andrus Ansip acting as Vice President for the Digital Single Market and Günther Oettinger as Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society.

In February 2015, they decided to discuss Europe's future and digital economy with leading entrepreneurs, investors and corporates at the very first Startup Europe Summit which took place at the Factory, an outstanding campus for startups and tech companies in Berlin, also known as "Europe's Silicon Valley". As a result of the discussions, there certainly seems to be a lot to achieve in the 5 years ahead towards building a European Digital Single Market and making Europe the biggest app developer in the world. There is no doubt about the benefits that start-ups and innovation bring to our economy and society, and many success stories prove. What appears to be a big challenge can also be considered as a big opportunity for the founders!

Therefore, let us join our talents and prepare the future by doing things better, faster and cheaper :)

Other useful links to help you prepare for the career of a web entrepreneur:

Startup guide Berlin book

Startupguide book - to be launched in April 2015 

- Startup weekend

Startupbootcamps accelerators

Startup Institute

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)