Neelie KROES
Vice-President of the European Commission

Navigation path

Campus Party - Getting in Touch with Europe's Startup Scene

I've had a great couple of days in London, at the 2013 Campus Party.

I've long been pretty excited about Europe's startup scene. Lots of people assume all the world's tech innovation takes place in Silicon Valley.

But when you scratch the surface you can see a lot of European success stories too – Skype, Spotify, Soundcloud, Angry Birds, Dailymotion, Supercell, and Tuenti, to name just a few. And I know that’s just the tip of a huge iceberg of hard-working, creative entrepreneurs using digital tools, and their own know-how, to get to the next breakthrough.

That gives me a lot of hope. I want to make life easier for those entrepreneurs. We are already taking – or have already taken – action in areas like promoting crowd-funding, boosting venture capital, and accelerators.

Plus I was delighted to launch today a new important resource for startup innovation: the Future Internet labs.  Our research on the Future Internet has been going some time – and recently announced €100 million for startups. And this week it was great to launch a new resource – a "lab" offering up the "building blocks" for tomorrow's innovative ideas. Those building blocks are now available for free, and startups – or indeed anyone – from all over Europe can now get their hands on them, and use them to stimulate innovations in sectors from healthcare to transport, media to manufacturing. That's something I know Europe's entrepreneurs can really use – so I hope many of them will do so. Try it out!

I know it's not just about resources though – it's also about building recognition of the European scene. Because it makes your life as an entrepreneur a lot harder if the people who matter don't know what it's all about – whether that's parents, professors or politicians. I've got together some of Europe's startup success stories - to form the "Startup Europe Leaders' Club". To draw attention to this vibrant ecosystem: but also to say how they think Europe needs to change. To make life easier for startups – and create tomorrow's jobs in tomorrow's digital sectors. You can see their "Manifesto" here. And it's great reading. But this goes beyond one document. This is a community that's essential to our economic future: so it's a community that needs to mobilise, assert itself, and make its voice heard.

I don't see this Manifesto as the end of a process – I see it as the start. You can sign up to show your support - and I hope many of you will!

I'll be playing my part – just next week I'm coming forward with my plans to bring down barriers for everyone who uses phones or the Internet in Europe – like by bringing about the end of roaming charges. Fast, pan-European networks would make it so much easier to offer fast, pan-European services – giving Europe's entrepreneurs a huge home market to try out their new exciting ideas, and meaning more choice for every European internet user. Of course - not all of the ideas in the manifesto are for the EU (indeed some aren't for governments at all). So I hope many take this message to heart.

The recent purchase of part of Nokia by Microsoft is a reminder of what's at stake. But there are still many great businesses and business ideas here in Europe – including, indeed, Nokia's research arm (which was not sold): and they all deserve the environment that helps them compete. With that, and with the right self-confidence, I know Europe has what it takes to succeed. At a time of economic gloom, a sector with so much dynamism and energy is something that should make every politician – every European, in fact - sit up and take notice.

Twitter: #CPEurope

Categories