Access to finance continues to be an obstacle for Europe’s innovative technology companies, despite the short-lived “dot-com” boom. European entrepreneurs still face fragmented and varying European financial markets, leaving them at a competitive disadvantage. This is especially true for the new Member States where the capital markets are immature. Therefore, most ambitious technology entrepreneurs must seek funding across Europe if they care to raise capital in sufficient amounts from resourceful investors. The required cross-border search clearly increases costs, legal and financial risks and the time-to-market.
One pragmatic answer to this challenge is to create opportunities for meetings and dialogue between specialised investors and selected technology entrepreneurs across Europe. Over the past five years, the European Tech Investment Forum (ETIF) has developed into an important pan-European meeting platform, promoted by the European Commission’s IST Programme. Since its inception in 1998, more than 430 companies from 29 different countries have presented their business cases at the ETIF. A recent survey assessing the impact of the 10 first editions of the Forum concluded that 80 companies had raised finance as a result of contacts made at the Forum. It is known that 66 of these companies have raised €308million in growth funding.
The survey results and recommendations from financial and corporate investors, entrepreneurs and experts participating in the ETIF as well as an overview of the ETIF programme over the past 5 years have been compiled in a reference book published by the European Commission in September 2004.
The successful series of ETIF continues with the next edition to be held alongside the 2004 IST Conference in The Hague, the Netherlands from 15 to 17 November 2004.