Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Entrepreneurs head for the cloud

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Startups are an engine for economic growth, but getting them off the ground has traditionally required more than entrepreneurial spirit. Would-be entrepreneurs needed capital to hire talent, to market their idea, to hire office space and to invest in materials or technology to make an idea happen.

Web entrepreneurs have a distinct advantage over their older style counterparts because their activities require much less infrastructure. And now that they can tap into the cloud – a key enabling technology – even technology requirements have diminished. Some startups are not just using the cloud, but providing cloud services themselves.

It is therefore unsurprising that web entrepreneurship is gaining pace. According to the Boston Consulting Group1, the internet economy in G-20 countries will grow at an annual rate of 8 % over the next five years. In developing markets, annual growth is expected to be even higher, at 18 %.

Success stories

Looking to lift Europe out of the current economic downturn, the EU is stepping up its support for startups, innovators and entrepreneurs, which have the potential to boost innovation and economic growth, creating thousands of jobs along the way.

European success stories include:

  • Greenclouds (www.greencloudsonline.com) – the Netherlands – maximising spare capacity on cloud servers;
  • Catchoom (www.catchoom.com) – Spain – an image recognition provider for augmented reality, gaming, publishing, retell etc.;
  • Dream Broker (www.dreambroker.com) – Finland – an online company offering cloud-based software for creating, editing and sharing videos online.

 

A helping hand

With its StartupEurope initiative (https://ec.europa.eu/digitalagenda/en/startup-europe), the EU is supporting web entrepreneurs by raising awareness and visibility, networking relevant actors across Europe and improving the structure of the EU’s web landscape. Notable achievements include:

  • The Leaders Club – a group of leading European techentrepreneurs that has published a Manifesto for entrepreneurship calling on the European Commission and national governments to take action in 22 key areas that will help more web-entrepreneurs achieve success.
  • Two prizes have boosted the visibility of web businesses. TechAllStar (http://techallstars.eu/) selects 12 promising European startups and takes them to Europe’s biggest startup events. Europioneers (http://europioneers.com/) recognises Europe’s best tech-entrepreneurs.
  • Support for networking opportunities by bringing together:
    • startup accelerators (programmes offering funding, office space, design support, marketing, mentoring etc.);
    • investors;
    • relevant corporations and education organisations.

Crowdfunding and co-working space networks also provide valuable support, while a visual mapping of the startup ecosystem in Europe will help policy-makers direct support where it is needed most.

The Commission also earmarked €100 million for small companies and web entrepreneurs looking to use innovative internet technologies for new services and applications. The funding was released with one of the final Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) calls for proposals, from the public-privatepartnership on the “future internet”.

This trend is also set to continue under the next research framework programme – Horizon 2020. A €10 million call for proposals targeting web entrepreneurs will be published in 2014, falling under the ICT section of the “leadership in enabling and industrial technologies” pillar of Horizon 2020.


  1. BCG, The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity –the internet economy in the G-20, March 2012

 

(Article from net-cloud future magazine (2013) - for complete magazine click here)

 

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