The European Commission published at the start of 2013 several new “entrepreneurship” plans and actions with regards to the forthcoming 2014-20 period.
To recap: early this year, the EC and its DG Enterprise and Industry revealed the upcoming launch of the “Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan” , a broadly defined action to boost entrepreneurship and innovation culture in Europe. The Action Plan proposes, amongst others, to strengthen framework conditions for entrepreneurs by removing existing structural barriers, support to entrepreneurs in critical phases of the business, and nurture the culture of entrepreneurship in Europe. On a national level, it is the category of the “SME envoy”, appointed by the respective national government, who will be responsible for driving the implementation of this generic plan.
Meanwhile, another EC directorate, the DG CONNECT started working on the ICT-side of entrepreneurship through the EC Digital Agenda flagship, and supporting several initiatives like Startup Europe (also crossed within the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan) which promotes ICT and web entrepreneurs to start their business in Europe. At present this initiative is launching The Startup Europe Tour: in the effort to be connected, to network and to be inspired (FYI: see below a list of upcoming events). The European Commission, Telefonica and the Lisbon Council – a Brussels-based think tank –will be the main drivers of this initiative. The StartUp Europe Forum will include a special session for the “Leaders Club”, an independent group of experts and role models in technology and web entrepreneurship that offer strategic advice to the EC. The Leaders Club is unveiling a Manifesto outlining a new vision for Europe during a session dubbed ‘From Coal and Steel to Wired and Digital’. If you wish, you can sign the Manifesto before 30 September.
Furthermore, with regards to the emergent ICT world, a Private Partnership Agreement on the Future Internet has been launched to help with funding and mentoring Web entrepreneurs. The Future Internet PPP Call 3 has been opened on 28 June 2013 (Closing: 10 December 2013).
As you see, a plethora of actions and instruments “are expected” to support the entrepreneurial activity in the upcoming years (ie. accelerators, investors, mentors, crowdfunding, etc). It is worth being informed thus to react and benefit, in spite of the potential overlaps and the difficulties to apply and win, not only the potential “grant” but more importantly to win the “market”. Said in other words, the value should not be in the financing, the priority and real value should be in accessing your clients! At present, the market “survival” is one of the European drawbacks, irrespective of the money you got!
By Mario Mahr, EU Advisor, UIIN Director of EU Affairs