The Startup Europe Leaders Club is the first part of Startup Europe, the European Commission's 6-part plan to help tech start-ups and grow in Europe and to scale-up to a global level.
By creating a platform for star entrepreneurs to tell their inspirational stories, share their frustrations, the Commission hopes to wake-up young Europeans and leaders to the potential of entrepreneurial careers.
Other elements of Startup Europe include:
- The Startup Europe Partnership to unlock expertise, mentoring, technology and services;
- EU Accelerators Forum to increase awareness of the existing accelerator programs;
- EU Crowdfunding Networks to link up existing crowd-funding platforms, especially those specialised in Web start-ups;
- making venture capitalists more aware of web business by sharing success stories and through networking activities
"Europeans need to be creative and fearless. That's how dozens of the world's most exciting web and tech companies were born in the EU, and I want the world to know it," said Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President, "I want young entrepreneurs to have role models, and for them to have a real digital single market to grow their ideas in."
Mrs Kroes added: "Members of the Startup Europe Leaders Club are living proof that web entrepreneurship can be a hugely rewarding career. These people didn't just talk about doing something, they went and did it."
The full list of the newly formed leaders club include:
Zaryn Dentzel – found of Tuenti, Spain's largest "invite only" social network
Daniel Ek / Martin Lorentzon – founders of online music steaming service Spotify
Kaj Hed – Chairman of Rovio (Angry Birds)
Lars Hinrichs – founder and CEO HackFwd, a pre-seed investment company
Joanna Shields - (@TechCityUK) CEO and Chair of Tech City Investment Organisation
Reshma Sohoni – partner of Seedcamp, a catalyst for Europe's next generation of entrepreneurs
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten – ) founder of The Next Web
Niklas Zennström - co-founder of Skype, Kazaa, Joltid and Joost and Atomico
Web entrepreneurs worldwide have an enormous impact on the economy and society. The majority of new jobs are created by start-ups and 45% of Europeans would like to be their own boss if they could.
Start-up companies create three million jobs in the US during their first year of business, a level of dynamism the Commission would like to see matched in the EU.