Last Wednesday (29/1) I did one of things I love the most about my job: meeting inspirational young people. On the invitation of Greek MEP Sylvana Rapti, 8 Greek startups visited Brussels – and I had the opportunity to talk with them. Their initiatives varied widely, and so did the sectors they were representing, but they all had one thing in common: a great entrepreneurial spirit. They didn’t want to wait until jobs were created for them; so they created their own.
The Greek start up scene is hot - and getting hotter: and with ambitions high. More and more great initiatives are popping up supporting young entrepreneurs in setting up their own successful companies. For example, the Orange Grove, a flexible workspace run by the Dutch Embassy in Athens, where Greek and Dutch entrepreneurs can work on their businesses, network and learn; or the Industry Disruptors, an organisation to promote entrepreneurship in the wider region of the Mediterranean and the Balkans – sharing knowledge and supporting entrepreneurs to scale up.
However, there is no reason to sit back and relax. My conversation with the young entrepreneurs made clear that, still, much work needs to be done to make Europe start-up friendly. We need to break down barriers and create a climate where funding is available; and knowledge is shared as effectively as possible.
The newly created Start-up Europe Partnership, as part of the EU’s Startup Europe initiative, is one of the tools that will contribute, networking with relevant stakeholders across Europe. The European Digital Forum will also liaise with all these networks to ensure that these topics are brought to the attention of policymakers and politicians across Europe. So in this work and others, I can ensure you of one thing: European start-ups already have my full attention.