Startups have been blossoming across Europe for a while now. Some of them have become success stories, some can call themselves a “unicorn”, many of them are not European any longer because they were obliged to move outside Europe and/or give up ownership to find the money to scale up.
The lagging European economy cannot be revived solely on the basis of a thriving ecosystem for startups. The EU needs to offer an environment nursing scale-ups and just replicating Silicon Valley is not an option.
In order to have a wider discussion around this issue, EIF & Lambert van Nistelrooij MEP invited a panel of entrepreneurs to talk about what it is like to scale up in Europe.
Alberto Onetti, President & Chairman at Mind the Bridge, noted that startups are flourishing across the European Union, including small regions and towns. However, it is not enough. Entrepreneurs need to be nurtured and given help to connect to the global ecosystem.
Lenard Koschwitz, Director European Affairs at Allied for Startups, noted that there is not enough startup representation at the EU policy making level. He also stressed the fact that we should not only focus on growing start-ups and scale-ups here, but also on keeping them in Europe. He noted that the European startup visa could be a useful tool to attract skilled professionals to Europe to start businesses here. He also stressed the importance of allowing a possibility to give stock options as remuneration to early employees.
Gianpiero Lotito, Founder and CEO of FacilityLive, an Italian startup founded in 2010, presented his success story on how to raise investment in Europe. He noted that Europe needs to have its own scaling-up models, because a simple replication of the models used in the Silicon Valley is not working here.
EIF used this debate as an opportunity to see how the policy climate for the scalability of European start-ups could be improved. Our event speakers shared their views:
Highlights from Twitter: