European push to take on Silicon Valley gathers steam

Tech leaders, global corporations, universities and financial institutions have joined the European Commission in two initiatives to nurture Europe’s tech and digital startups into global internet companies.

Vice President Neelie Kroes today launched a new accelerator – the Startup Europe Partnership – and a new think tank – the European Digital Forum – at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Europe needs thriving startups and global internet companies to become a global growth centre again,” Kroes said.

Founding partners of these projects are: Telefonica, Orange, BBVA, European Investment Bank, Cambridge University, IE Business School, Humboldt University, the Lisbon Council, Nesta and Mind the Bridge Foundation.

The Startup Europe Partnership will help start-ups break through their national glass ceiling into global maturity. Its secretariat will be led by the Mind the Bridge Foundation, a non-profit corporation and Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation.

Neelie Kroes said: “Politicians don’t create jobs, entrepreneurs do. We’re going to support that mindset and push European start-ups beyond their comfort zone. And then we’re going to get out of the way. Sometimes the best thing a political leader can do is get out of the way.”

The European Digital Forum will give entrepreneurs a voice in policy debates and aims to become Europe’s leading think tank and policy network on digital entrepreneurship. It will also produce an annual Digital Economy Index to measure how friendly Europe is to the mind-set required to succeed in the digital era. Its secretariat will be led by the Lisbon Council in collaboration with Nesta.

The Startup Partnership and Digital Forum are the Commission’s first concrete actions to deliver new business conditions in Europe following delivery of a Manifesto by the Startup Europe Leaders Club to Europe’s Prime Ministers and Presidents in October 2013 (IP/13/989).

Source: Startup Europe Partnership