Communications Networks, Content and Technology
European Commission Directorate General

Web Entrepreneurs and Businesses

Web Entrepreneurs and Businesses

Net Innovation (Unit E.3)
  • A more vibrant and competitive European web ecosystem by increasing the number of web startups and web businesses.
  • Growing revenues and number of jobs created by web startups.
  • The reduction of barriers and bottlenecks for web entrepreneurs to start up and scale up.
  • A set of platforms and cross-European services for information, collaboration and access to capital.

To stimulate Web Entrepreneurship and Business in Europe and support them to scale up and become global champions


The competitiveness and growth game is played in the global internet economy. Web businesses are one of the primary creators of new jobs. The impact of web startups on economic growth and job creation will further increase in the future.Status-quo:

  • small number of web-startups in Europe compared to other regions
  • lower growth rate in revenues and number of jobs of web-businesses in Europe, compared to similar ones in the US
  • lower investment (venture capital) in EU consumer web companies. Investments are geographically unevenly distributed over the EU and concentrated in 4 Member States (the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Sweden)
  • no European web company is among the global leaders in their field

Problem definition:

  • insufficient web-entrepreneurial culture in Europe
  • fragmented European web-entrepreneurial eco-system (on training, mentoring, access to funding opportunities, regulation)
  • inadequate opportunities for EU web startups to scale up and become leaders, including insufficient funding opportunities in terms of growth/expansion capital
  • shortage of skilled and specifically talented web-developers.
  • lack of educational programs on web entrepreneurship and innovation at universities and secondary schools
  • lack of precise information and data about web startups ecosystem in Europe (number of startups, jobs created, contribution to GDP growth, etc.)


Full-Time Equivalent: 
5.00 full-time equivalent (FTE)
Collaboration with other DGs or agencies:
A significant part of the Future Internet PPP Phase 3 budget of €100 Mio will be allocated to SMEs & web entrepreneurs active in the web business ecosystem. We foresee spending under Horizon 2020 of €10Mio in 2014 for web entrepreneur activities.

Administrative and operational budget will cover:

  • Launch of studies and monitoring services

Collaboration with:

  • DG Internal Market in relation to the crowdfunding activities
  • DG Enterprise Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan
  • DG Enterprise "Digital Entrepreneurship Monitor" study launched in January 2013
  • DG Education and Culture for the massive open online courses.
  • The European Investment Fund in relation to the two new instruments: CorIp (Corporate Innovation Platform) and EAF (European Angels fund)

Interaction with participants of the EC web entrepreneurs 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

Accelerate web entrepreneurship in Europe

Launch of a set of pilots and networks of web-hubs across Europe and support actions specific for web-entrepreneurs under Horizon 2020.

Timeframe: 2015



Number of across-Europe services provided to web entrepreneurs

Web entrepeneurs participating at FI PPP phase 3

Web-entrepreneurs will participate in the third phase of the Future Internet PPP through open calls that will be organised by intermediaries.

Timeframe: 2015



Number of tech startups receiving grants through the open calls


Growth of the web entrepreurship 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 will contribute to fostering the startups creation and the scale up of startups to get European and global dimension.



Number of tech startups in the major European tech hubs

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