Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Action 127: Set up a more business-friendly environment for start-ups

Research programmes, including Horizon 2020, promote a sustainable European network of high growth ICT start-ups. Priorities for ICT entrepreneurs – including web entrepreneurs – are to support access to finance (develop awareness and expertise of Venture Capitalists and Business Angels) and promote entrepreneurship education (school contests on ICT entrepreneurship and ICT entrepreneurship summer schools), and culture (campaign to promote a risk-taking attitudes in Europe).

What is the problem?

Entrepreneurship is the essential engine for the creation of successful innovative enterprises in Europe. Yet, entrepreneurs are facing barriers preventing some from turning ideas into projects, in terms of:

  • access to finance
  • network
  • lack of entrepreneurial skills
  • lack of an entrepreneurship culture.

Generally, ICT entrepreneurs tend to exploit more innovative and radical approaches that are more likely to generate higher value than those of the incumbents. We need to strengthen the ICT ecosystem in Europe to stay competitive and even leaders in creating new values.

Why is EU action required?

  • Europe needs to change its approach towards entrepreneurship: A EU action is needed to create a European-wide culture of entrepreneurship. The Commission is promoting a cultural change of acceptance of failure and celebration of success, to convince more Europeans to become entrepreneurs, and above all ICT entrepreneurs.
  • The support to ICT entrepreneurship becomes, in this context, a priority for the Horizon 2020 programme, in order to foster the innovation potential of research and technological development.

What has the Commission done so far?

  • At EU level, the European Commission already facilitates interactions between entrepreneurs and investors for innovative SMEs. The aim is:
    • to create more intense cross-border cooperation for support to highly innovative SME and entrepreneurs,
    • to improve access to investors and legal advice for innovative SMEs and entrepreneurs, and
    • to share experience on entrepreneurship with researchers to exploit research and innovation ideas, and results.
  • A support platform advises entrepreneurs in ICT participating in EU programmes or actions of the Digital Agenda for Europe.
  • However, highly innovative firms have not been supported sufficiently and public policies should develop towards an innovation ecosystem. In particular, Venture Capitalists need to receive sufficient viable propositions and companies need to present the opportunities better in front of investors.

What will the Commission do next?

  • The support to ICT entrepreneurship will be a priority for the Horizon 2020, the EU's programme for research and innovation. These actions provide ICT entrepreneurs – including web entrepreneurs -with appropriate incentives and business environments to help them transforming their ideas into start-ups and subsequently into growing and leading enterprises.
  • The actions will also facilitate relations between entrepreneurs and key actors to support these actions and ensure the sustainability of their projects even after the end of the Horizon 2020 programme.
  • In terms of access to finance, the aim is to develop awareness and expertise of investors (such as Venture Capitalists and Business Angels) on technology and innovation trends in ICT fields. The expected impact for start-ups is to improve access to investors, cross border cooperation and mobilise more investments at early and growth stages.
  • In terms of entrepreneurship education, the Commission is working - in close cooperation with national authorities - to promote education for entrepreneurship at school and university. Young people who benefit from entrepreneurial learning develop business knowledge and essential skills and creativity. Specific actions will be addressed to promote risk-taking attitudes in Europe with a focus on ICT sector.

The expected impact is to bring results to market: It is expected that more projects will reach a stage suitable for Venture Capitalists to invest in, and that a sustainably European network of high growth ICT start-up an entrepreneurship communities will build a community of stakeholders.

Progress Report
Status: On track Viorel PECA Viorel PECA