European Commission’s Plan to Accelerate Local Entrepreneurship Ecosystems

Neelie Kroes has always been an advocate of the “e-EU”, the digitization of the EU and the enormous opportunities for the European Union in relation to entrepreneurship. One of the latest figures I saw passing by was the need for a whopping 720,000 applications developers in the coming years. Massive. The Startup Europe Leaders Club is the first part of the six-step plan.

Members of the Startup Europe Leaders Club are living proof that web entrepreneurship can be a hugely rewarding career. Neelie Kroes said “These people didn’t just talk about doing something, they went and did it. That’s why young people and leaders should listen to them.”

With help from the creators of Spotify, Angry Birds, Tuenti, Skype, SeedCamp, HackFwd, London’s Tech City and TheNextWeb, the Commission is creating a platform for star entrepreneurs to tell their stories of inspirations and frustration, to wake-up young Europeans and leaders to the potential of entrepreneurial careers.

The members of the Startup Europe Leaders Club are:

  1. Zaryn Denzel, (@Zaryn), born in California, founder of Tuenti, Spain’s largest ‘invite-only’ social network
  2. Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) and Martin Lorentzon (@MartinLorentzon) – founders of online music streaming service Spotify
  3. Kaj Hed (@RovioHQ) – Chairman of Rovio (Angry Birds)
  4. Lars Hinrichs (@LarsHinrichs) – founder and CEO of HackFwd, a pre-seed investment company
  5. Joanna Shields (@TechCityUK) CEO and Chair of Tech City Investment Organisation
  6. Reshma Sohoni (@rsohoni) – partner of SeedCamp, a catalyst for Europe’s next generation of entrepreneurs
  7. Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten (@Boris) entrepreneur – founder of The Next Web
  8. Niklas Zennström (@atomicoventures) – co-founder of Skype, Kazaa, Joltid and Joost and Atomico

Education and the way how talent is being fostered

The interesting part is how education is going to help with all this web-entrepreneurial talent. The press release states the following three ways:

a) Expanding the role of online education platforms (such as “Massive Online Open Courses”) to combat the shortage of Web developers;

b) Using barter platforms as marketplace for sharing and trading skills Europe-wide among Web entrepreneurs; and

c) Exploring the viability, at European level, of twinning senior, experienced people with young entrepreneurs to share ideas and experiences.

These are great ways to excel and foster talent. The first one is focussing on efficient means to transfer the “explicit” knowledge of Web development, this doesn’t say much however on the applicability in an entrepreneurial setting which is more than just development.

The middle one is interesting because it concentrates on bartering, which is a nice way of getting and giving without out-of-pocket investments.

I love the latter. Why? Because it focusses on unique combinations of seasoned experienced people and young entrepreneurs.  Schumpeter said that entrepreneurship can be defined as an art or science of innovation and risk taking for profit in the business, the quality being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship refers to taking out new and unique combinations. Accelerating this by connecting and bringing people together from different background is a great way. It are these unique combinations that can unlock creativity and innovation.

What do you think of this EU initiative?