With a few exceptions, both economic growth and job creation have been anaemic across Europe even before the current economic crisis. Moreover, unemployment is alarmingly high and continues to rise. A big reason for these problems is that Europe partially lacks a highly dynamic technology sector boosted by innovation-driven entrepreneurship.
Faced with strong global competition and high labour costs, Europe needs to reinvent itself. It will only be able to generate sustainable and significant growth through a relentless focus on a knowledge economy and particularly on enhancing the environment for high value-added innovation-driven entrepreneurship.
The objective of this project is to promote long-term growth and job creation in Europe by significantly improving the conditions for innovation-driven entrepreneurship, creating an immediate and sustainable impact. This can be achieved by connecting key leaders in Europe’s entrepreneurial communities in order to build a unified European community of entrepreneurship leaders.
Many of the people that the Forum is engaging are already involved in activities and events that boost entrepreneurship in their countries and beyond. However, as there is still a relatively large fragmentation across various entrepreneurship communities in Europe, strong synergies and advocacy power could be created by forging them into a well-connected group. Such a community of leading “doers” could realistically serve as a major platform and driving force for change in entrepreneurship in Europe.
The project will address the most pressing issues in fostering innovation-driven entrepreneurship, which were identified based on extensive discussions with stakeholders. These include promotion of entrepreneurship, increasing the role of large corporations in boosting entrepreneurship in Europe, and improving access to capital. Moreover, the project will engage in policy dialogue and will look at improving access to entrepreneurship resources.
Three vertical work packages are envisaged:
- Promotion of entrepreneurship aims to raise awareness of entrepreneurial career paths and of the options for working in innovative start-ups/SMEs. It will do so by carrying out activities that lead to cultural shifts in attitudes towards entrepreneurship and that provide mentorship and peer support.
- Increasing the role of large corporations in boosting entrepreneurship in Europe will link the existing market leaders more actively with highly innovative start-ups/SMEs and change their behaviour to support more demand for innovations and new technologies.
- Improving access to capital has two aims: a) improving access to seed funding across Europe by enhancing information about/access to high-quality business angels and b) developing measures to improve availability of early-stage funding.
Two horizontal work packages foster exchange and transparency regarding these activities: Policy dialogue with key policy-makers across Europe will ensure that the project addresses topics of broadest possible interest and explicitly supports policy-makers in improving conditions for entrepreneurship in Europe. Better information and better access to entrepreneurship resources will explicitly address the lack of transparency on available support for entrepreneurs.
First, over the past few years, the Forum has accumulated cutting-edge knowledge on how to boost entrepreneurship in general. This knowledge can be contextualized to meet Europe’s specific needs.
Second, many, if not most, of the leading European entrepreneurs are members of one of the Forum’s communities, particularly the Young Global Leaders or Global Shapers. Innovation is no longer limited to research and development, but is a multifaceted endeavour involving scientists, businesses, investors, consumers and policy-makers.
The project is carried out in collaboration with A.T. Kearney and will initially be built around:
- European leaders in the entrepreneurship space from the Forum’s communities of Young Global Leaders, Global Shapers, Technology Pioneers and Global Growth Companies
- Members of the Forum’s Investors Industry Partners Community
- Members of Global Agenda Councils on Fostering Entrepreneurship and on Design & Innovation
- The European Young Innovators Forum
- Other leading personalities from areas that shape the environment for technology and innovation-based entrepreneurship, which include established multinationals, leading academic experts and public policy leaders
- Tools for better innovation management support developed under the leadership of A.T. Kearney and offered by the IMP³rove - European Innovation Management Academy
The specific activities and actions within the project will be determined directly by the participants in its initial stages and then fine-tuned on an ongoing basis through:
- Knowledge and practical tools. Sharing and enhancing proven and highly useful entrepreneurship tools and bringing them to other locations in Europe, creating new pan-European tools based on global best practice as well as creating a knowledge platform disseminating and fostering transparency on entrepreneurship opportunities in Europe.
- Meetings and community building. High-level meetings and interactive workshops designed to foster community building, best-practice sharing and collaboration, and strategic dialogue and advocacy.
- Written recommendations and measurable impact driven by our community. Generating key and actionable recommendations that can significantly boost entrepreneurship; achieving measurable impact in all focus areas leveraging the potential of the Word Economic Forum’s network.
For more information, contact:
Nicholas Davis, Director, Head of Europe and Constituents
Tel.: +41 (0)79 469 8548
Thorsten Jelinek, Associate Director, Europe Membership
Tel.: +41 (0)79 716 0004
Martin Ruppert, Project Manager
Tel.: +41 (0)79 796 1461