Communications Networks, Content and Technology

Web Entrepreneurs and Businesses

Web Entrepreneurs and Businesses

Net Innovation (Unit E.3)

Our goal is to encourage a more vibrant European web innovation ecosystem by increasing the number of web startups and by stimulating their rapid scaling-up. 

  • Strengthen the web entrepreneurship ecosystem by building networks among the key players (accelerators, investors, crowd funding, etc.) and supporting platforms and cross-European services.
  • Raise awareness about web entrepreneurship and celebrate success (Tech All Stars, Eupioners)
  • Stimulate corporates and universities to provide resources and support to startups and entrepreneurs (Startup Europe Partnership)
  • Influence decision makers to address policy issues (The Startup Manifesto, the Web entrepreneurs Leaders Club,
  • Understand better the web entrepreneurship ecosystem and identify the most effective support measures (Dynamic Mapping of the ecosystem, measure the EuroApp economy.

Web businesses are one of the primary creators of innovation and new jobs. The impact of web startups on economic growth and job creation will further increase as the functionalities of Internet expand. However Europe has fewer web-startups than other regions, and those tend to grow lessProblem definition:

  • Insufficient web-entrepreneurial culture in Europe.
  • Fragmented European web-entrepreneurial eco-system
  • Inadequate opportunities and funding for EU web startups to scale up and become leaders.
  • Shortage of skilled and specifically talented web-developers and web-business professionals.
  • Lack of educational programs on web entrepreneurship and innovation at universities and secondary schools, little support and motivation for students to launch a web business.
  • Lack of precise information and data about web startups ecosystem in Europe.

This work is an integral part of the StartupEurope initiative, in collaboration with Unit F.2. and an instance, specific to web entrepreneurs, of the broader goals of the European Commission and DG CONNECT on innovation and entrepreneurship at large.

COM(2012) 795 – Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Social and Economic Committee and the Committee of the Regions "ENTREPRENEURSHIP 2020 ACTION PLAN - Reigniting the entrepreneurial spirit in Europe", 9.1.2013 Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-15 5, Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies, Information and Communication Technologies, European Commission Decision C (2013)8631 of 10 December 2013 COM(2010)245 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Social and Economic Committee and the Committee of the Regions "A Digital Agenda for Europe".


Full-Time Equivalent: 
Collaboration with other DGs or agencies:
€10 million a specific challenge on Web Entrepreneurship within the Horizon 2020 Programme. The Future Internet PPP Phase 3 invests €100 million in SMEs and web entrepreneurs.

Administrative and operational budget:

  • Support services for the Web accelerators, Web investors and crow funding platforms, development of web talent through Massive open online courses,  prizes (Techallstar and EU-pioneers), study the Apps economy in Europe.

Interaction with participants of the EC web entrepreneur's actions: The accelerators participating in the Startup Europe Accelerators Assembly, the investors participating in the Startup Europe Web Investors Forum, the Crowdfunding platforms within the Startup Europe Network of crowdfunding platforms, the universities and business schools interested in the area of massive Open Online Courses for web skills, the coworking spaces in Europe as part of the StartupEurope Coworking Assembly, the community created around the StartupEurope Manifesto and the companies, startups and academic organisations involved in the StartupEurope Partnership and the European Digital Forum.



Success of the pilots and networks of web entrepreneurs

Success of the pilots and networks for web entrepreneurs selected in the first call of H2020. At this early stage this can only be quantified by number and the quality and of stakeholders involved.


Timeframe: 2015



Number of active participants in the pilots and networks

Target 50 (2015)
Baseline 0 (2014)

Euroepan Commission services by surveying the 3 pilot projects and support actions under Horizon 2020.

Future Internet PPP support to web-entrepreneurs

The Future Internet PPP will support SMEs and web-entrepreneurs to actually develop innovative Internet applications and services on the platform.

Timeframe: 2015 - 2016



Number of services and aplications that will be brought to the market

Target 300 (2016)
Baseline 0 (2014)

To be measured by the project FI-BUSINESS

The outcomes of the Webentrepreneur measures

Outcomes of the web entrepreneurship actions are the Leaders Club Manifesto, the StartupEurope partnership, the network of accelerators, the web investors and crowd funding initiatve, the EDF and the TechAllStars and Europioneers prizes. These outputs will be followed by the activities of the StartupEurope Partnership, the EDF and the new Horizon 2020 work. The indicator that we have selected as a combined and quantifiable measure of the achievements in this area.

Timeframe: 2015



The number of stakeholders (accelerators, investors, crow funding platforms, corporates, entrepreneurs and decision makers) who have contributed to these outcomes

Target 100 (2015)
Baseline 0 (2013)

The indicator will be computed each year by Commission survey of web-entrepreneurship actions.


Growth of the web entrepreneurship sector in Europe

The desired impact is a more conductive environment for web entrepreneurship in Europe which positively influences job creation and economic growth. A better web entrepreneurship culture combined with the integration of the web entrepreneurship ecosystem in Europe, role models and champions, specific expertise, more capital and more motivation will allow more new startups to begin their entrepreneurial path in a more fertile environment as well as allow existing startups from quickly scale up from early investment stage.

Timeframe: 2015



Number of web startups in the major European tech hubs (lead indicator)

Target +10% (2016)
Baseline not yet available (2014)

To be measured by the ongoing study on the dynamic mapping of the European web-entrepreneur ecosystem (SMART 2013/0035).

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

  • Europe 2020 - 75% of the population aged 20-64 should be employed Europe 2020
  • Europe 2020 - 3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in R&D, complemented by a future EU 2020 Headline Innovation Indicator
  • eCommerce Action Plan - Double the share of eCommerce in retail sales and of the internet sector in European GDP by 2015