The digital economy is developing rapidly worldwide. Novel technological trends, such as mobile and social solutions, cloud computing and data analytics offer a new range of opportunities for business services in the knowledge economy. These technologies hold potential for the creation of new business value to EU companies. The digitisation of manufacturing transforms the entire manufacturing industry offering promising prospects for the re-location of industry in Europe. How well and how quickly European businesses adopt digital technologies will be a key determinant of growth in future years.
NEW Reaching out to a broader stakeholders Community
However, this huge potential is dramatically under-exploited in Europe, with 41% of enterprises being non-digital and only2% taking full profit of the digital opportunities.
Digital entrepreneurship embraces all new ventures and the transformation of existing businesses by creating and using novel digital technologies. Digital enterprises are characterised by a high intensity of utilisation of novel digital technologies (particularly social, big data, mobile and cloud solutions) to improve business operations, invent new business models, sharpen business intelligence, and engage with customers and stakeholders.They create the jobs and growth opportunities of the future.
The vision: Europe’s ambition is to create new business opportunities and accelerate the transformation of its business landscape through novel digital technologies in order to increase growth and create employment.
Under the umbrella of the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, and based on intensive dialogue with stakeholders and policy analysis, a policy framework has been developed to describe the vision and key priority areas for policy intervention. The framework is structured along five pillars, each describing key factors influencing Digital Entrepreneurship. The Commission is committed to working towards the deployment and implementation of the aforementioned vision and five-pillar strategy.
The Directorate General of Enterprise and Industry has launched a set of actions to boost Digital Entrepreneurship in Europe:
The ensure the governance of this policy initiative, the Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurshipis set up to reinforce dialogue among industry, science, and politics and advise the Commission on a EU vision, strategy and roadmap on digital entrepreneurship. The inaugural meeting of the Strategic Forum will take place on 28 February 2014.
Open dialogue with key stakeholders and the study on “Doing Business in the Digital Age”identified the key technological trends and carried out a comparative analysis of national strategies and private initiatives to foster digital entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Berlin/Germany, Silicon Valley/US and Singapore. The study proposed a five pillar strategy and 21 recommendations for actions cutting across different policy areas, at EU, national/regional level.
The Digital Entrepreneurship Monitor, a tool to monitor the key technological and market trends, emerging business opportunities, new business paradigms and their impact on the European economy, as well as relevant policy initiatives all over Europe.
A major pan-European awareness raising campaign and eMentoring ecosystem to catalyse and support new business ideas. The objective is to sensitise entrepreneurs on the changing business landscape and the new business opportunities offered by novel digital technologies. It will establish a European eMentors ecosystem to inspire and support new entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Activities will include training, advice and hands-on coaching on how to do business in the digital age and match-making events among stakeholders to explore new partnerships. This action started in January 2014 and will run for two years.
A nuber of studies to analyse competences and e-leadership skills, focusing on scientific and creative disciplines, and managerial and entrepreneurial skills to address new technologies and markers.
Specific actions for Web entrepreneurssuch as: i) a Start-up Europe Partnership to unlock expertise, mentoring, technology and services, ii) a Web Entrepreneurs Leaders Club to bring together world-class web entrepreneurs and strengthen the web entrepreneurial culture in Europe; iii) a European network of web business accelerators; iv) work with European investors in order to increase the flow of venture capital and crowd-funding into web start-ups; and v) Fostering web talent by stimulating the emergence of Massive Online Open Courses46 and the setting up of platforms for mentoring, and skill building.
Information and Communication technologies are the single most important driver of innovation and growth for national economies worldwide. Novel digital technologies and innovations are powerful and re-shape entire industries and value chains, reduce barriers to entry, sharpen market intelligence and open doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.
Government and business leaders throughout Europe should make it a priority to encourage and support SMEs to make full use of the latest digital technologies and realise the associated economic benefits. Greater use of advanced digital technologies by SMEs can boost both growth and employment. There is ample room for improvement.
Experts suggest that we are still only just at the beginning of the potential digital growth, with only one per cent of the potential digital connectivity achieved so far. The number of connected devices creating data, automating processes and providing services is exploding. Many EU entrepreneurs are already leveraging digital technologies to create successful businesses and significant economic impact, but it is essential that EU companies keep up to speed, avoiding competitive disadvantage with companies in other regions of the world. It is estimated that 1.5m additional jobs would be created in the EU Internet Economy, if the entire EU mirrors the performance of US or Sweden .
The European Commission services recognise fully the key role of ICT in improving drastically the business landscape in Europe. In the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, the Commission highlights the high potential of the smart use of ICT as an enabler of entrepreneurship, growth and jobs and commits to unleash the new business opportunities created by the digital evolution.
The European Parliament’s resolution on completing the Digital Single Market, praises the efforts undertaken by the Commission to promote the smart use of ICT and the integration of SMEs in digital value chains and encourages a sound EU strategy on Digital Entrepreneurship.