Future Digital Economy: let’s go beyond traditional models

Is there a lack of entrepreneurship spirit in Europe ? was one of the first questions raised in Workshop 19 on the Future Digital Economy. Regularly, when talking about European digital entrepreneurs, comparison is made with United States’ Silicon Valley, which stands then as an important role model to follow. However this time it was clear “let’s not think about recreating a Silicon Valley in Europe, it would be a waste of time and money”. There is no such a thing as a European Entrepreneur, digital innovators are global; they progress in a globalised market, interact with global costumers and use global platform to promote their ideas.

Entrepreneurs all over the World face the same nature of challenges; smart investments, consumer satisfaction, product development…etc… What marks the difference is the way they tackle these challenges. An interesting comment from the floor stated, “ While in US paper work is considered as part of the Entrepreneur journey, in EU it’s considered as a major obstacle and generates great frustration”. Further, these examples show how an US-EU comparison has become outdated, nowadays; major innovations aren’t coming from any of these countries, but lead by emerging markets entrepreneurs.

Therefore, specific regulation won’t necessary be the answer. Although there is a true lack “of venture capitalist culture, risk taking and public support for new commoners” (D. Vasconcelos) it’s up to the entrepreneurs to see what the market is ready for. So let’s start concentrating on creating a right ecosystem for digital start-ups and integrating them in a successful future digital economy, which will be a chance for competitive and innovative entrepreneurship.

One of the many ideas that need to be developed further to boost the competitive position of EU would be to create a European Cooperation Platform. Thought both as an Offline and Online network, it would showcase best practices and encourage the culture of entrepreneurship while providing real useful tools for entrepreneurs. Connecting Investors, start-ups and public sector it would create the key enablers to make great things happen. And who knows, maybe the future Steve and Marks will be Europeans?

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