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 action at EU level is needed?
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 until now?
Examples of targeted actions related to web entrepreneurs undertaken during 2012 (finalised or ongoing), include:
- The TechAllStars campaign (finalised in June 2012) to provide visibility to the best European web start-ups, to help them connect with investors, top executives, mentors, potential partners and venture capitalists.
- The OpenIdeo challenge, aimed at crowd-sourcing ideas on how to support web entrepreneurs to grow sustainable businesses in Europe (in the context of the Digital Agenda Assembly in June 2012);
- The preparation of a Web-entrepreneur of the year award ("Europioneers" prize, to be awarded in 2013);
- The preparation of a study on the apps economy in Europe (to start at the beginning of 2013);
- The preparation of follow up activities of Digital Agenda Assembly 2012 regarding web-entrepreneurship (to start in 2013).
The Commission has launched in 2013 a Web entrepreneurship action plan designed to:
- boost visibility and leadership at EU level by celebrating the achievements of established Web entrepreneurs and promoting Web entrepreneurship as a career;
- strengthen, structurally, the Web startup and technology investment ecosystem and enhance its competitiveness with regards to the rest of the world;
- give a voice to all stakeholders in the digital industry, web entrepreneurs and technology investors in particular, and help federate and pool existing resources;
- create a greater diversity of Web talent development across the EU;
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. More details on the Staff Working document, as well as the actions undertaken in support of web entrepreneurs can be found here.
What are the Commission's plans?
The new targeted measures in support of Web entrepreneurs will be the subject of the new DAE Action 128 (Web Entrepreneurship Action Plan), which is a result of the DAE review in December 2012. It will also take over the on-going activities in the area, thus Action 54 can be considered as completed.