Web entrepreneurship to boost start-ups in Europe Web entrepreneurship to boost start-ups in Europe

High tech start-ups constitute a specific category of entrepreneurs who create new digital services and products that use the web as an indispensable component. The businesses high tech start-ups start do not only create many new jobs in the digital industry, but also have an important transformational and cross-border impact on the society and economy. Start-ups create the majority of new jobs and currently one third of new start-ups are high-tech start-ups in Europe. To ensure that Europe benefits fully from high technology entrepreneurship, it is desirable that more high tech entrepreneurs start up and stay in Europe.

There are many new and quite specific entrepreneurial ecosystems emerging in Europe. High tech entrepreneurs are part of them. However their skills and the challenges they will face are distinct from those facing start-up founders in other industries across Europe. Making use of ESIF to co-finance high tech entrepreneurs and high tech start-ups can help regions play a key role in growth.

High tech entrepreneurs rely on existing web technologies, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and cloud platforms to develop new products and create new services, as well as to distribute and sell them. They operate in a complex and fast moving eco-system, where networking and experimenting is paramount. They often require relatively little time to build new web products and distribute them, which means the time between idea and go-to-market is shorter. The web being their main development tool, they can operate independently of physical locations, both in terms of building their businesses and finding and serving clients.

High tech start-ups are cheaper to set-up and the entry barriers are low, making them an attractive vehicle to start an entrepreneurial career. On the other hand, they need to deal with high risk of failure, a global, borderless playing field and often unproven existing technologies, platforms and distribution mechanisms. High tech start-ups tend to grow and fail faster than other businesses, which translates into higher rewards, but also higher risks.

Tech start-ups often reinvent and reshape existing incumbent companies, market segments, or even entire industries. (e.g. Zappos for retail shoes, Spotify for music, Rovio for games and Cousera for education). The most successful high tech start-ups can grow from a team of 2 people to 200 people in less than a year, and increase revenues tenfold in the same period from customers worldwide. The impact of web businesses will further grow in the future, as they capitalise on a massive and global customer base and on powerful new functionalities (mobility, sensors, big data, social media, etc.).

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Thematic fiche

High-tech entrepreneurship to boost start-ups in Europe

Upcoming event

The Startup Europe week will be held from 1-5 february 2016, where 100-200 meetups are planned to be broadcasted accross European regions; with the aim to bring regional officers, entrepreneurs and local leaders to inform about EU and local support for startups. The idea behind is to map all available resources and support for startups at local level.

Further reading

The One-Stop-Shop for startups, a new European level digital point of contact for all information about European Tech Entrepreneurship and startup scene.

Startup Europe Regions Network (SERN), is an initiative with the goal to gather EU regions committed to startup support to offer a first virtual interconnected space for EU startups to scale up. The goal is to leverage private investments with European and regional ones so as to create critical mass.

Startup Europe Dynamic Mapping, a visual map of startups across Europe, initiated in 10 cities and with the ambition to expand all over Europe. The tool has already been used by investors to screen startups and by startups themselves to join new ecosystems and find partners and investors.

Watify - a non for profit initiative supported by the European Commission based on several sessions of serial entrepreneurs explaining how they have overcome their doubts while starting or digitizing their own business

Startup Europe initiative - aims to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs so that their ideas and business can start and grow in the EU.

Digital Entrepreneurship Monitor (DEM) - provides a monitoring mechanism to examine key trends in Digital Entrepreneurship. Information is provided about statistics, initiatives to support Digital Entrepreneurs and reports on business opportunities and digital technologies.

Doing business in the Digital Age - In order to foster the knowledge base on Digital Entrepreneurship the Commission has launched and funded the study "Doing business in the Digital Age: the impact of new ICT developments in the global business landscape".

The new Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurship aims to foster the deployment and implementation of a sound strategy on Digital Entrepreneurship in Europe. It reinforces the dialogue among businesses, science, and politics with the aim of shaping an ambitious EU vision, a short and long-term strategy and a European roadmap to fuel Digital Entrepreneurship in Europe.

European e-Business Support Network

Staff Working Document on Strengthening the Environment for Web Entrepreneurs in the EU

Europioneers 2013

Tech All Stars 1 & 2