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European Commission

Press release

Davos/Brussels, 23 January 2014

European push to take on Silicon Valley gathers steam

Tech leaders, global corporations, universities and financial institutions have joined the European Commission in two initiatives to nurture Europe's tech and digital startups into global internet companies.

Vice President Neelie Kroes today launched a new accelerator – the Startup Europe Partnership – and a new think tank - the European Digital Forum - at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "Europe needs thriving startups and global internet companies to become a global growth centre again,” Kroes said.

Founding partners of these projects are: Telefonica, Orange, BBVA, European Investment Bank, Cambridge University, IE Business School, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, the Lisbon Council, Nesta and Mind the Bridge Foundation.

The Startup Europe Partnership will help start-ups break through their national glass ceiling into global maturity. Its secretariat will be led by the Mind the Bridge Foundation, a non-profit corporation and Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation.

Neelie Kroes said: “Politicians don’t create jobs, entrepreneurs do. We’re going to support that mindset and push European start-ups beyond their comfort zone. And then we’re going to get out of the way. Sometimes the best thing a political leader can do is get out of the way.”

The European Digital Forum will give entrepreneurs a voice in policy debates and aims to become Europe’s leading think tank and policy network on digital entrepreneurship. It will also produce an annual Digital Economy Index to measure how friendly Europe is to the mind-set required to succeed in the digital era. Its secretariat will be led by the Lisbon Council in collaboration with Nesta.

The Startup Partnership and Digital Forum are the Commission’s first concrete actions to deliver new business conditions in Europe following delivery of a Manifesto by the Startup Europe Leaders Club to Europe's Prime Ministers and Presidents in October 2013 (IP/13/989).

Background

By using innovative technologies and platforms, web entrepreneurs build products and create services which improve and enrich our professional and private lives. In doing so, they drive economic growth and create jobs, for example, the apps-creation business alone has led to 800,000 jobs in Europe in the last five years.

Startup Europe is the umbrella terms for six initiatives under the Commission’s Digital Agenda: The Accelerator Assembly, the European Crowdfunding Network, The Web Investors Forum, the Leaders Club, the Startup Europe Partnership

Startup Europe Partnership (SEP)

Few startups have been able to scale up in Europe and reach a pan-European size. The SEP will build bridges between Europe's startup, corporate and investment communities to help EU startups raise funds and beat language barriers to reach maturity as global champions.

Ongoing activities will include:

Events matching startups and corporations to encourage corporates to procure and invest in startups;

mapping the hottest startups, hubs and success stories.

sharing startup related best practices to reduce the cultural divide and favour cross-fertilization.

The vision is that European corporations - large and middle size - as well as European universities have to be active key players in this process. They can both help the growth process of startups (business partnerships and strategic corporate investments) and have access to the best technologies and talents (acquisition and acqui-hiring).

European Digital Forum

European Digital Forum will give a stronger voice to Europe tech scene by placing its achievements and challenges in their proper overall economic context, rather than in a niche.

Designed as a, 'open church" the Forum will be open to all industries, companies and stakeholders

Useful Links

Startup Europe Manifesto

Startup Europe Leaders Club

Startup Europe

@StartUpEU

Hashtags: #wef, #davos, #startupmanifesto, #startupeurope

Neelie Kroes Follow Neelie on Twitter

Ryan Heath video statement

Contacts

Email: comm-kroes@ec.europa.eu Tel: +32.229.57361 Twitter: @RyanHeathEU


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