Neelie KROES
Vice-President of the European Commission

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Who is Europe's best tech entrepreneur? And those of tomorrow?

This is my first post of 2013, and I'm happy to kick off the year with a subject which you know I am really passionate about: Europe's tech & web entrepreneurs. These are the people following their dreams and creating their own companies. Coming up with ideas and products with the potential to change the way we live, work, play, communicate and collaborate. And they are also creating new jobs, sometimes in sectors and markets which don't even exist yet. These inspirational people are at the cutting edge of the EU's digital economy and economic recovery. And we need to celebrate them and ensure that their ideas can start in Europe, and stay in Europe. So that's why I am looking for Europioneers in web or mobile, who have demonstrated the skill, innovation, drive, passion & leadership to be called Europe's Tech Entrepreneur of the year. We need nominations in 2 categories: "European Tech Entrepreneur of the Year", and "European Young Tech Entrepreneur of the Year" (which means still under 30 this year). Nominations are now open and you have until Valentine's Day, February 14th (#LoveDigital2013 !) to tell me who inspires you. The competition is organised in partnership with The Next Web . There will be a public round of voting to select the 5 final nominees from your short list and the awards will be presented at an unforgettable award show in April. So please send your nominations now. We need to celebrate the success of our tech Europioneers who will inspire future generations. I am very happy that I am not the only one in the Commission who recognises that entrepreneurs can help us build a way out of our current crisis. My colleague Antonio Tajani, today presented an action plan to re-ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in Europe. An important part of that plan is igniting and supporting Europe's web and tech startups. As I said at LeWeb in December, I want the EU to be the place for web entrepreneurs, to help us react and adapt more quickly to the new opportunities and demands of the digital economy. Over the course of this year I will be unveiling a series of measures to increase the momentum. This is our web-entrepreneurship action plan to support, promote and celebrate web-entrepreneurs. In the coming weeks, I'll be launching an Leaders' Club to encourage Web entrepreneurship as a career. Half a dozen world class web entrepreneurs will act both as role models and as sources of strategic guidance to the European Commission as we seek to strengthen Europe's entrepreneurial culture. More news about this soon. Over the following months we will
  • Leverage web startup investment by creating a European network of web business accelerators; supporting a European network of crowd-funding platforms and help it to provide support, visibility and interconnectivity among existing EU crowd-funding platforms specialised in web start-ups; and encouraging venture capital investment in web-businesses
  • Create the Startup Europe Partnership, to strengthen the Web startup and technology investment ecosystem. This will bring serial entrepreneurs, large companies, specialised investors, mentors, accelerators and media with special interest in the web in contact with young entrepreneurs and online startups. It will unlock expertise, technology, services or offices, to support entrepreneurs.
  • Foster web talent in Europe, through education, such as Massive Online Open Courses; supporting networks, programmes and resources for bartering, acceleration and incubation, as well as mentoring.
Today's economic crisis  has bought home the reality that the life-long stable jobs which my generation and my children's generation took for granted, are no more. This is a tough reality, but also one filled with exciting possibilities for those with the courage and the right support to dream and create their own futures. Tech and web entrepreneurs are some of those inspirational creators. I want Europe to be the place where they can dream, grow, and prosper.
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