Digital start-ups and the European Union
Helping digital entrepreneurship breed future European “tech champions”: a vision for European policy makers and for the innovation ecosystem.
From the point of view of the EU and its Member States, innovation and hi-tech especially, could prove a potent way to lift Europe out of recession and help regain its industrial lead. However, in the digital economy, the uncomfortable fact remains that overseas players were the ones to revolutionise social networks and entertainment and that they now dominate global markets.
Yet, Europe has produced some successful ICT companies and app producers - alongside myriad start-ups. There has never been more support for start-ups, in many Member States as well as at EU level, ranging from financial aid to networking and skills mentoring. While there is no single action that can rapidly increase the level of European ICT start-ups, there are a range of possible measures.
In particular, incentivise small businesses to address a European potential market beyond their country of origin by further harmonisation of EU law and regulation is an important step to help small companies scale up. This is why the construction of a Digital Single Market is also essential for digital entrepreneurs, so long as this achievement creates more proportionate legislation – rather than an increase.
With a more immediate timing perspective, funding is also obviously a priority for small companies. For example, small, apparently risky, tech start-ups in Europe can have a difficult time finding the initial financing that would allow them to reach enough scale to organize an IPO (Initial Public Offer) on stock markets.
Yet, accompanying start-ups into IPO could be desirable for Europe. It is clearly in the interest of companies such as Orange to see such companies prosper: larger companies also depend on a thriving ‘ecosystem’ of small, innovative start-ups and SMEs to supply popular content and apps, or technological breakthroughs. From the point of view of policy makers, innovation creators based on the European territory are a strong asset for Europe to restore its technological and industrial edge.
This is why, considering the current trends among European start-ups, there are opportunities for cooperation between digital start-ups and bigger players, for acceleration as well as for financial support.