Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Action 128: Web entrepreneurs action plan


Measures for Web entrepreneurship were announced in the "Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan" and the DAE review, December 2012, as well as in the Web Entrepreneurship Action Plan, published on April 2013. The Startup Europe Manifesto, written by the Leaders Club, contains 22 recommendations to make Europe entrepreneurship-friendly.

Why is EU action required?

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 so far?

Specific measures for Web entrepreneurs were announced in the Commission Communication on the "Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan" (COM(2012) 795 final of  9.1.2013). Five main areas for action were set out: launching a Start-up Europe Partnership, creating a Web entrepreneurs Leaders' Club, creating a European network of web business accelerators, supporting venture capital and crowdfunding for web businesses and fostering Web entrepreneur talent.

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.

Read more details on the Staff Working document, as well as the on-going actions undertaken in support of web entrepreneurs.

Progress so far:

  • The Leaders Club, initiated by Vice-President Nellie Kroes on 21 March 2013, brought together a group of leading European tech-entrepreneurs. It published A manifesto for entrepreneurship and innovation to power growth in the EU in which they propose 22 actions for European web-entrepreneurs and their business to become more successful. The manifesto received wide online endorsement (more than 5000 signatures as of October 2013) and a high-level political event  for the manifesto's promotion took place on 23 October 2013, in the margins of the European Council.
  • Activities  related to the creation of a European accelerator network, to venture capital and crowdfunding and the coordination and facilitation of Startup Europe, are underway since May 2013.
  • The prizes TechAllStars (most promising young start-up) and Europioneers (best tech-entrepreneur) have pushed-up the visibility of web businesses across Europe. The 2012 and 2013 editions were a success.
  • A study on Web apps and services in Europe is underway, which will provide a better understanding of the current situation in Europe.
  • The 3rd call of the Future Internet PPP, which closed on 10 December 2013, focuses on attracting SMEs and web entrepreneurs to use innovative Internet technologies for new services and applications. A budget of Euro 100 million has been set aside.
  • The Startup Europe Manifesto has been drawn up by the 9 members of the Startup Leaders Club and draws on the combined experience of dozens of Europeans who have imagined, built and grown successful businesses. It contains 22 recommendations in the fields of education and skills, access to talent, access to capital, data protection and thought leadership which taken together, will give European businesses the best chance of future success. Over 5,700 people have signed the manifesto.

What will the Commission do next?

  • Continue work on catalysing resources and networking of web entrepreneurs and stimulate commitments towards European Web startups through the initiation of a Startup Europe Partnership.
  • Continue work on consolidating the network of European accelerators and facilitating access to finance for web entrepreneurs.
  • Explore the development of web talent using the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
  • Prepare the TechAllStars 2014 competition and the Europioneers 2014 award
  • Develop the knowledge about the web startups in Europe through a dynamic mapping of the ecosystem.
  • Launch of a call specific for web entrepreneurs in the first work programme of H2020 (LEIT specific challenge ICT 13, Euro 10 million).