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European Commission to create online platform and think-tank to support EU start-ups

Sam Shead | Jan. 27, 2014
Initiatives aim to turn small firms into global internet companies.

European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes today announced the launch of a new start-up 'accelerator' and think-tank to support the Europe's start-up community.

The Start-up Europe Partnership (SEP) is an accelerator that aims to help young European firms scale and turn into global internet companies by connecting them to entrepreneurs, mentors and accelerators through a yet to be unveiled online platform.

"The SEP will build bridges between Europe's start-up, corporate and investment communities to help EU start-ups raise funds and beat language barriers to reach maturity as global champions," said the Commission.

Members of the SEP will receive additional support in the form of discounted prices for services such as Salesforce, Intuit payroll and Google Adwords, as well as help for hiring and training new staff.

There will also be scope for young unemployed people to do internships with companies that are partnered with the scheme, which is being led by the Mind the Bridge Foundation, a non-profit corporation which runs an accelerator programme, and Nesta, a UK charity that funds innovation.

Kroes also detailed the European Digital Forum today, saying it will give entrepreneurs a voice in policy debates and aims to become Europe's leading think-tank and policy network on digital entrepreneurship. The forum will also produce an annual Digital Economy Index to measure if European entrepreneurs have the mind-set required to succeed in the digital era.

The European Commission has partnered with several big names on the initiatives, including Telefonica, Orange, BBVA, the European Investment Bank, Cambridge University, the IE Business School, Humboldt University and the Lisbon Council.

"Politicians don't create jobs, entrepreneurs do," Kroes said at the World Economic Forum in Davos today. "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 Startup Europe Partnership and the European Digital Forum are part of the Startup Europe campaign, an initiative unveiled in March last year.

 

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