Digital entrepreneurship embraces all new ventures and the transformation of existing businesses that drive economic and/or social value 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.
Europe’s ambition is to accelerate the transformation of its business landscape through the development and smart use of digital technologies in order to increase growth and create employment.
Under the umbrella of the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan , a five pillar strategy has been set to spur progress towards this vision:
The Directorate General of Enterprise and Industry has launched a set of actions to boost Digital Entrepreneurship in Europe:
- Foster the knowledge base on Digital Entrepreneurship:
- The study "Doing Business in the Digital Age: the impact of new ICT developments in the global business landscape"provides an in-depth analysis of major technological trends, new business paradigms and their potential implications in the European economy. The study 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. It includes a strategic EU vision, a five pillar objectives and relevant policy recommendations at European, national and regional level.
- The Digital Entrepreneurship Monitor, started in January 2013, with the objective to set up a monitoring mechanism to measure and appraise the key technological and market trends, emerging business opportunities, new business paradigms and their impact on the European economy. The Digital Entrepreneurship Monitor will cover both the demand and supply site of digital technologies and services. The web site will be operational as of October 2013.
- Raise awareness through a Europe-wide information campaign for entrepreneurs and SMEs on the benefits from the new digital evolutions; the campaign will promote European success stories, pan-European contests and prize award schemes to sensitise entrepreneurs on the changing business landscape and new business opportunities.
- Facilitate networking to spark and support new business ideas, such as: the creation of a European eMentors ecosystem for 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. An open call for tenders “Fostering Digital Entrepreneurship in Europe: raising awareness and the visibility of digital icons and creation of a European eMentors ecosystem” will be published by mid June 2013 at the Europa web site.
- Launch specific actions for Web entrepreneurs such 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.
- Strengthen competences and skills by intensifying its E-skills actions to improve eleadership skills, scientific and creative disciplines, and managerial and entrepreneurial skills to address new technological and markets.
Information and Communication technologies are the single most important driver of innovation and growth for national economies worldwide. Digital technologies and innovations are powerful, pervasive and have multiple, indirect impacts. They re-shape entire industries and value chains, reduce barriers to entry, sharpen market intelligence, blur industry boundaries, and open doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.
The challenge for current market leaders and small enterprises alike is to anticipate the changes that they will be facing in the years to come, and how they can realise the full potential of digital technologies. Businesses that fail to get digitally connected will be simply excluded from the global market.
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. The Commission pledges to help entrepreneurs and SMEs to fully exploit the potential of ICT, both in terms of supply of new digital products and services, and in terms of demand and smart use of these technologies. Those are mutually reinforcing forces, and a balanced, coordinated approach to stimulate both the demand and supply side is crucial to accelerate the transformation of Europe into a competitive place for doing business in the digital age. It announces a set of specific actions.
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.