Last week Brussels, the center of European Union activities, hosted a grand workshop organized within Startup Europe Programme that was set up by a former Digital Commissioner Neelie Kroes. During the event, the European Commission officials launched several new projects encouraging deeper cooperation between regional entrepreneurs, startuppers, investors and policymakers, thus contributing to the increase of startup movement in Europe.
Startup Europe is one of the European Commission’s departments working with startup companies and performing a number of relatively simplified programmes to support the young talents. On the 1st of October, they launched the Startup Europe Regions Network – another division to coordinate with European governments and encourage them to provide various support to startuppers.
Recently Startup Europe began to take real actions and earnestly participate in the comprehensive development of the regional business environment. Startup Summit in Berlin, Startup Ole in Salamanca are only a few examples of the exciting conferences held by the initiative of the European Commission. Last week they arranged another programme together with Mind the Bridge Foundation to send 14 European startup teams to Silicon Valley. With all these events and programmes performed Startup Europe attracts more and more young professionals and investors, who highly appreciate this new working approach.
However, there are still some issues to work on for better outcomes. According to Kaidi Ruusalepp, the founder of Funderbeam startup from Estonia performing research in European startup activity, the Commission’s funding procedures are still close to the ones belonging to public institutions, which provide money rather slowly in comparison with private VC companies. Also, the application process is too complicated and often requires some professional consultant advice.
Another issue discussed in Brussels last week was the functioning of Capital Market Union – a capital mobilization plan set up by the European Commission, which implies easing a number of venture capital regulations all over the countries in Europe. With more integration, the local capital markets would make the whole funding process more transparent and cost-effective, which would attract a lot of investments to European startup ecosystem. Moreover, there should appear certain exit opportunities which will become another part of the strategy for startup investors.
During the workshop Andrus Ansip, Commission Vice-President, pointed out the necessity of creating better business environments in Europe that would allow startups grow here instead of losing precious young talented minds that move to the USA in search of success and easier funding. According to the promoters of innovations that were present at Brussels workshop, all European business units, from startups to the leading companies, have to cooperate in order to be able to compete with Silicon Valley. For that startuppers and investors should create international teams and always stay in touch to share ideas and exchange experience. Ricardo van Loenen, the founder of hub providing various services to startups in Amsterdam, now plans to launch a startup union in Europe which will become a new information platform. It is worth mentioning that Startup Europe already created a website serving as a database containing information about the startups in 10 European cities.
Startup Europe is a programme of high hopes and expectations. The whole startup community believes in its further support and enthusiasm while the governments hope to avoid some possible legislation conflicts. The members of Startup Europe promise to actively address some vital obstacles and propose solutions to the existing problems, thus maintaining its soft approach.
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