ideaSpace and Cambridge University in the UK are spearheading a new EC initiative to take technology and other startups across Europe to unprecedented global success.The aim is to help startups compete and raise funds at a global level – and bring them face to face with top entrepreneurs from European and Silicon Valley companies to learn from best practice and achieve sustainable growth.
It is arguably one of the most significant entrepreneurship initiatives ever created for Europe as a trade innovation bloc.
Part of the venture will see the creation of maps showing the major European hotspots of startups – boosting their global visibility.
The University of Cambridge is one of the founding members of the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) – the first pan-European open platform dedicated to helping startups to progress to maturity.
ideaSpace, which supports people in Cambridge starting high-impact new ventures, is the University’s representative for the project. It will play a guiding role as a member of the steering committee as well as supporting five startups through the initiative.
The work programme will be promoted by the European Commission. Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President responsible for Digital Agenda, said: “Europe needs thriving startups and global internet companies to become a global growth centre again.
“Politicians don’t create jobs, entrepreneurs do. We’re going to support that mindset and push European start-ups beyond their comfort zone.”
The SEP programme will be based on three main elements: -
• Matching: a series of same-format international events in startup hubs across Europe will create a marketplace where selected start-ups and corporations meet to enhance investment from corporates and pave the way for potential acquisitions.
• Mapping: a ‘map’ of the hottest European start-ups and hubs will provide international visibility for emerging companies and celebrate the successes of startups and spin-outs that are able to scale up.
• Sharing: bringing together best practice on entrepreneurship and corporate venture/start-up support from leading European and international companies, such as those from Silicon Valley, will help reduce cultural divides and encourage ‘startup cross-fertilisation’.
Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: “The University of Cambridge has been extremely successful in supporting spin-outs, and last year invested a record £2.3 million in seed funds to support such enterprises.
“This has helped build Europe’s most successful technology cluster, with 14 companies valued at more than $1 billion. That is why we welcome this initiative, which is key to the future economic growth of Europe.”
SEP’s other founding partners are Telefonica, Orange, BBVA, European Investment Fund (part of the European Investment Bank Group), IE Business School, the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Nesta – the UK’s innovation foundation – and Mind the Bridge, a non-profit organisation that supports a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem.