Taking place in one of Europe’s entrepreneurial hubs, the Startup Europe Summit was hosted in Berlin by the Factory on the February 12-13, 2015. Attended by some of Europe’s leading startups, European policymakers, venture capitalists, corporations, and startup accelerators, the discussions focused on the future of European entrepreneurship. Big name attendees included GoEurope, Blablacar, Günther Öttinger, Andrus Ansip, Neelie Kroes of the EU Commission (and the Dutch Special Envoy for Startups), Index Ventures, Startup Bootcamp, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Google.
The Startup Summit provided a space for entrepreneurs and policymakers alike to learn about the evolutions and opportunities for startups and young entrepreneurs in Europe. Child & Youth Finance International’s Innovation Coordinator, Philip Harris, who is currently running Ye! – an online platform for young entrepreneurs - launch and pitching events, attended the Summit.
The main theme which emerged from the discussions was the importance of increased connection and collaboration at a European and global level. These trends are picking up on two levels:
Startups: greater connectivity is needed between key players in the startup industry, especially the entrepreneurs themselves and the financial providers. Modern startups are almost immediately international thanks to the global connections offered by the Internet, but there remains a lack of international communities to make these international connections easier. There are a host of online and mobile platforms perfectly suited to this: for instance through WhatsApp and Facebook or through online communities such as Ye!
Ecosystem: startup accelerators, incubators, bootcamps, government schemes, business model trainings set up by corporations, competitions, etc. There are a growing number of local and international programs which aim to give startups the boost they need to take their businesses to the next level; and while cross-sector collaboration is catching on, more needs to be done to connect the different types of organizations supporting youth enterprise, such as during the Startup Europe Summit. The European Union recognizes this, and the Commission in particular is increasingly active in setting up European-level programs such as Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. This is also why the European Economic and Social Committee is hosting the Ye! European Launch & Pitching Event on March 16, 2015, in Brussels, where different stakeholders will attend to discuss greater collaboration in the future, as this will offer young entrepreneurs holistic and effective support and positively impact the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Connecting-platforms such as Ye! are a necessity for startups and young entrepreneurs around the world. The fact that Ye! is only 3 months old and has gained worldwide support for the networking, funding and resource sharing opportunities it offers young startups across the globe is testament to this.