What is the problem?
Web entrepreneurs worldwide have an enormous impact on human society, by using innovative technologies and platforms to create products, services and solutions that improve and enrich our everyday lives, whether that means better informing, entertaining, protecting or educating us.
From an economic perspective, the importance of web-based businesses for economic growth and jobs creation (especially among the youth) is increasingly obvious. Start-ups create the majority of new jobs and a significant part of the new start-ups are web start-ups.
Europe is clearly lagging behind other geographical areas in terms of global leaders in this sector. Compared to the United States, but also to regions like Southeast Asia, fewer startups are founded by European Web entrepreneurs and those that are relatively successful, very rarely grow up to become global leaders.
Why is EU action required?
EU level action is essential, as a complement to existing initiatives at local, or national level. The issues identified, such as the need for a stronger culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, or insufficient access to financial resources and human capital, extend well beyond the borders of individual EU member states.
There is a lot of talent in Europe and great resources for innovative and disruptive business ideas based on the latest ICT technologies. Unleashing the full potential can enable Europe to catch-up and become a leader in this area also.
What has the Commission done so far?
Specific measures for Web entrepreneurs were announced in the Commission Communication on the "Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan" (COM(2012) 795 final of 9.1.2013). Five main areas for action were set out: launching a Start-up Europe Partnership, creating a Web entrepreneurs Leaders' Club, creating a European network of web business accelerators, supporting venture capital and crowdfunding for web businesses and fostering Web entrepreneur talent.
A Commission Staff working document providing an overview of the European environment for web entrepreneurs, as well as additional details concerning the support measures envisaged was published on 11.4.2013.
Read more details on the Staff Working document, as well as the on-going actions undertaken in support of web entrepreneurs.
Progress so far:
- The first meeting of the Web Entrepreneurs Leaders Club, chaired by
Vice-President Nellie Kroes, took place on 21 March.
- Support actions for the actions related to a European accelerator network, venture capital and crowdfunding have been selected and effective work starts in May 2013.
- The Europioneers competition has been organised, with the "European entrepreneur of the year" and the "European young entrepreneur of the year awards" to be presented by
Vice-President Neelie Kroes on 24 April, at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam.
- A study on Web apps and services in Europe has been launched, which will provide a better understanding of the current situation in Europe.
What will the Commission do?
- Continue work on catalysing resources and networking of web entrepreneurs and stimulate commitments towards European Web startups through the initiation of a Startup Europe Partnership.
- Continue work on consolidating the network of European accelerators and facilitating access to finance for web entrepreneurs.
- A dedicated workshop at the Digital Agenda Assembly (19-20 June in Dublin) will discuss initiatives taken and to be taken by the European Commission and Member States to promote and support entrepreneurs in Europe through programmes, instruments and projects.
- Promote, towards the Web entrepreneurs community, the Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP) Call 3 (open 30 June 2013 – 10 December 2013), which will provide opportunities for small and innovative tech startups to develop new web based services and applications.