ePlus Ecosystem – a retrospective
ePlus connects three local ecosystems (Lisbon, Nice/Côte D’Azur, Baden-Württemberg) to prepare European businesses and potential entrepreneurs for the changing global digital market, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to offer new products and services by digital means, to compete, thrive, and to create new jobs. This is achieved via a unique combination of talents, tools and services of a European scale, in all key elements: team, concept, technology and capital.
In this past 2 years, ePlus has been offering tailored serviced to startups, including mentoring, meet-up with relevant investors, training, networking or funding support for attending relevant events.
Ultimately it is about supporting web entrepreneurs go global. Through a combination of the partnership own experience with external experts, a successful experience is offered to startups helping them reach higher.
HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2017
ePlus work will continue to offer its services until June 2017 to support the startup ecosystem:
Nitro acceleration programme:tailored and high level training for startups this time taking place in Lisbon during May! Applications will be available soon.
Micro-grants: financial support for startups to participate in events that are useful for their growth strategy. Final round is now open – http://epluseurope.eu/blog-entry/open-call-announcement-mg-round-4
eMentoring: an on-going process to match mentors with startups – join-in now – http://epluseurope.eu/basic-page/ementoring
eTalent:want to grow your business through direct knowledge transfer from a researcher? Join this on-going service http://epluseurope.eu/basic-page/etalent
MY-WAY Two years to help students fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams!
When the MY-WAY project was funded in 2014, the European landscape of youth entrepreneurship washighly fragmented: although many support initiatives existed, they did not coordinate their efforts,information was lacking and young European prospective entrepreneurs were necessarily limited totheir local options when searching for information and support.
The idea of MY-WAY came from talksand confidence boosting speeches on how young adults should start and develop their businesses. Listening to young people’schallenges, it became clear that connecting the stakeholders of the web entrepreneurship ecosystem(mentors, accelerators, VCs, incubators etc.) with the student networks; connecting the students withbusiness people and connecting the available platforms and initiatives across Europe had the potentialof providing all actors with an added value and increase the effectiveness of the web entrepreneurshipecosystem.
From early 2015 until the end of 2016, ten organisations from eight European countries worked as a tight-knit team to bring student organisations supporting prospective entrepreneurs back into the centre stage of the ecosystem.
Our Israeli partner, Bar Ilan University, outlined a mapping methodology to lay out the most relevant actors for a young person wishing to launch a new business. By checking the MY-WAY map, you will be able to really understand the entrepreneurship environment not only around you, but throughout Europe, and you may find the missing piece of your business and directly contact a certain organisation, such as a co-working space, an accelerator, an investor, and alike.
Later on, our partners AEGEE (the European Students’ Forum) and NACUE (the National Association of College Universities Entrepreneurs) worked together to develop, carry out and later analyse online surveys and face-to-face interviews to young prospective entrepreneurs and student support centres. Through this endeavour, partners realised that students need to have closer contact and support from support centres, which should fill the gaps between the main actors in the field of entrepreneurship, including the ones providing information and guidance and encouraging young people to develop their ideas and support the fulfilment of their dreams. On the other hand, student support centres and student networks often face financial challenges and lack of proper working space, and have fragmented relationships with each other.
All partners then scouted their own ecosystem to find successful innovative collaboration agreements between a wide range of initiatives offering support to prospective entrepreneurs.Our Set of Best Practices showed that student networks can position themselves as key actors within the web entrepreneurship ecosystem if they are connected with other actors within the ecosystem, such as entrepreneurship networks, entrepreneurship centres, universities and organisations that provide financial support.
In order to facilitate novel connections and to give voice to the other side of the equation, AEGEE and Europa Media further organised two Stakeholder Meetings in Brussels, bringing together 30-40 people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities working in the entrepreneurship field: mentors, accelerators, student networks, incubators, investors, student support centres, and much more.
As a good number of recommendations and novel ideas was shortlisted, it became high time to give back to the students: MY-WAY managed to reach out to more than 750 students in the occasion of 5 Student Enterprise Conferences organised in London (by NACUE and Capital Enterprise), Budapest (by YES and Europa Media), Lisbon (H-Farm and Europa Media), Tel Aviv (Bar Ilan University) and Treviso (H-Farm and Europa Media).
Through the participation of our rock-star mentor and coach David Trayford, of all our partners and city-specific organisations acting in the entrepreneurial field, the events were a unique opportunity for students to discuss varioustopics related to how to make their business idea become real, learn more about ongoing funding programmes and initiatives, to change the mindset of those who may lack confidence and overall to make entrepreneurship a more appealing career option.
As the project comes to an end, it is time to take stock of what has been achieved and reflect on how to continue this satisfactory work. It is fair to say that partners have worked hard and in harmony for two years, driven by a unique enthusiasm and passion for helping students with their business ideas.
Being part of the Startup Europe club has further increased our outreach potential: we have established new connections with ongoing projects and initiatives, created new collaboration agreements and programmes, raised awareness on the entrepreneurial lifestyle, trained students on crucial skills and boosted their self-confidence.
KATANA Accelerator: €1.2 million investment fund calls for innovative ideas in agrifood
The EU-funded business accelerator KATANA will distribute in total 1.2 million euros to European entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMES. KATANA aims to support innovative ideas inthe development of application solutions in agribusiness. Applicationis open from 1 December to 28 February.
As of 1 December 2016, the EU-funded accelerator KATANA is searching for ambitious entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEswith a great vision for the future of agribusiness. Addressing agrifood, ICT and emerging industries (eco-industries, mobile services and personalized health), the best 100 applicants will receive 2,000 euros funding while the best 10 teams in terms of market attractiveness and performance will be granted 100,000 euros each. KATANA relies on an innovative selection and funding scheme based on peer to peer selection and crowdfunding.
“One great thing about KATANA is that it is not us who decides which teams get to be part of the programme. It’s the community itself”,explains Alexandra Rudl from bwcon GmbH, project coordinator and German representative of the project team. Using a specific algorithm, pitch videos will be evaluated and ranked according to their expertise, their understanding of the agrifood value chain and their vision for the sector. For Rudl, this is key to produce solutions that are not only nice to have but tailored to the market’s needs. “We expect highly innovative ideas to be brought to life thanks to KATANA. Based on previous experiences from projects like FRACTALS, we are sure that we will see a wide range of application solutions for ICT in agrifood.”
The purpose of KATANA is to identify those ideas with the greatest potential in agro and ICT sectors focusing on trends such as GPS, Internet of Things or Big Data. In addition to financial support the accelerator provides selected beneficiaries with business services worth 20,000 euros. “We believe that funding alone cannot guarantee the success of a venture. This is why our teams will be supported by dedicated KATANA coaches and have access to tailor-madecoaching materials such as webinars and online courses”, says Rudl. KATANA services also include 14 pan-European matchmaking events, a three days onsite Bootcamp as well as an international Investment Forum where participants get the chance to pitch their ideas in front of investors.
Building onentrepreneurship methods like Lean Startup, Design Thinking and Effectuation, KATANA will provide access to knowledge, technology, capital and markets with the overall aim of enabling competitiveness on a global scale by fostering cross-border and cross-sector cooperation.
For more information on KATANA visit the project website www.katanaproject.eu or find us on Facebook (@H2020_KaTaNa) and Twitter (@H2020_KATANA).
Latvia Passes Innovative Startup Law
On the 23rd of November, the Latvian parliament approved a new law to create a tax regime, one not matched anywhere else in Europe, that will effectively double venture capital investors’ money in young Latvian startups. This law is seen as part of a wider push to make Latvia an attractive base for startups. The law was passed with almost unanimous support in parliament and will enter into force from 1 January 2017.
“When investors decide to risk money backing a startup in Latvia, almost half of their money goes to pay social and personal income taxes, even if the founders and early employees are paying meagre salaries because their shares and options are the financial upside they hope for,” said Andris K. Berzins, board member and co-founder at the Latvian Startup Association, one of the key organizations behind the proposal. “This is because in most startups there are few other costs aside from salaries. So together with the Ministry of Economics, we decided to tackle this cost directly and the result is this new tax regime.”
The law foresees two tax plans: a special flat tax regime, currently 252 euros/mo per employee, regardless of salary paid, for minimal social benefits. Or for more highly qualified employees with a doctors or masters degree or 5+ years of experience, a regime where all their social and personal taxes are covered by the state, and they receive full social benefits. “As it stands, if the total tax burden on those employees is almost equivalent to their net salary cost, then this tax regime will have the effect of almost doubling the runway that a startup has, for the same amount of investment money, meaning that they are more likely to survive to the next round of funding (or revenues) and be successful in the long term,” said Andris.
To qualify, a startup would need to meet some basic criteria such as being less than 5 years old, have earned less than 200k in revenues during the first two years since registration, not be paying dividends, and have produced an innovative product or service. But the startups are also required to have secured 30,000 Euros or more in early-stage venture capital funding. “The venture capital funding serves as gatekeeper mechanism to focus the benefit on those startups that really have potential, as evidenced by their ability to attract outside funding,” emphasizes Andris K. Berzins. “A mechanism to also include business angels as qualifying funding is already planned for the next revision of this law.”
The Minister of Economics Arvils Aseradens has said Latvia needs to be the first choice base for startups in the Baltics, and the law is “a first step” in a wider push towards supporting innovative technology companies. The government has made no secret of its plan to compete for the status of the main regional startup hub; more initiatives to support startups in Latvia are in the pipeline for the near future, such as a startup visa to ease the process of hiring talented employees from outside the region. A law to legalize ridesharing is currently also in motion, and enjoys the support of all coalition parties, expected to be passed next year.
Latvia already has a lot going on to support the claim of a growing startup ecosystem, and a great place for startup development. There is no shortage of educated and talented people from the region and CIS countries, the living costs are low, the internet infrastructure is well above the European average and almost 95% of the population speak a foreign language. The community is also growing fast; Baltic conference TechChill is expected to grow from 500 to 1000 participants in one year alone, another example of growing interest in Riga. During the event, Baltic founders and policy makers will also meet at the second Riga Venture Summit next year- the first one resulted in founding Latvian Startup association and the Startup Law.
Retrieved from: TechHub Riga
Survey on Business Angels Funding in Research and Innovation
Within the context of the European Commission Study “Understanding the Nature and Impact of Business Angels Funding in Research and Innovation”, a survey on Business Angel funding landscape was recently published.
We would like to invite you to take part in a survey, and ask you to further disseminate this invitation to other Business Angels Investors.
Completing the survey takes about 20 minutes and is available both in English and in French. The survey aims to collect information and input about the Business Angels activity in the EU Members States and Associated Countries.
>To participate, GO TO SURVEY!
>To disseminate, share this post with other European Business Angel Investors!
They survey aims at providing a more complete picture of the Business Angel funding landscape with the final purpose of elaborating policy recommendation on the support to Business Angels investment. All responses will be treated in total confidentiality. The survey will be available online until 25 November 2016.
Should you be interested in the next steps of this study (i.e. being interviewed, being informed about the study results), please include your relevant contact information in the last page of the survey.
If you have any questions or wish to have further information on this survey, please do not hesitate to contact Chiara Frencia (Chiara.firstname.lastname@example.org).
Post-event blog: Startup Europe at Web Summit!
In case you didn’t know, Web Summit, Europe’s largest technology summit, was happening this week in Lisbon, Portugal. Startup Europe was there with the Startup Europe projects to talk to people about our events, activities and open calls!
Web Summit has become “Europe’s largest and most important technology marketplace”, a crossroads where over 50,000 of the world’s most disruptive technological innovators meet in one place.
On 7th- 10th November 2016, CEOs, cultural icons, key global leaders from the EU and national governments, startups, investors, leading academics and the world’s most iconic companies all gathered together in one single place: Lisbon.
In fact, Lisbon was chosen as the location of this immense event due to its booming entrepreneurial tech scene, which has experienced exponential grassroots growth in recent years.
This year’s summit was held at the MEO Arena and its 3 connecting pavillions.
The Startup Europe stand was in Pavillion 3, which was a prime location next to the summit’s second biggest stage and open networking areas. Here we had a collection of Startup Europe leaflets and flyers for each of the Startup Europe projects: Welcome, MY-WAY, Twist, Startup Scaleup and ePlus!
Members of these Startup Europe projects, and their partners, were at the stand to explain their projects and get people involved in their activities!
With more than 20 stages and workshop areas, there were numerous talks and discussions to listen to, many involving key public EU figures such as:
- José Manuel Barroso (President of the EU from 2004-2014)
- Carlos Moedas (European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, European Union)
- Ann Mettler (Head of European Political Strategy Centre, European Commission)
- Andrus Ansip (Vice-President, Digital Single Market, European Commission), and
- Marta Nagy-Rothengass (Head of Data Policy and Innovation Unit, DG CONNECT , European Commission
In addition, we had a special visit from Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, at the stand, who discussed the concept of creating a Single Startup Market across Europe.
The viability of this idea was discussed at the Startup Europe stand, and it was agreed that a first proposal would be drawn up, with the possibility of starting this concept in Italy and Portugal.
We also had a special visit by Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, who also came to the Startup Europe stand at South Summit in Madrid.
Overall, it was a great opportunity to speak to many people from all over the world who were interested in taking part in Startup Europe events, activities and programmes. We look forward to seeing you next year!
World’s first incubator for flowers and plants founded in the Netherlands
Let it Grow to launch open innovation call for entrepreneurs and creatives with green, innovative concepts
Let it Grow is an ambitious, internationally oriented innovation platform within the floricultural sector. It has been funded by Royal FloraHolland, the world’s largest auction for flowers and plants. Its aim is to facilitate entrepreneurs who positively influence urban areas with flowers and/or plants and to guide them in their growth. A key element of the platform is Let it Grow Lab, the world’s first incubator dedicated to flowers and plants. Application starts May 10 at letitgrow.org/apply.
Innovative start-up sector
“The floricultural sector is one of the few places where the start-up scene isn’t flourishing yet”, says Silke Tijkotte (28) founder of Let it Grow. “So there are a great many opportunities for entrepreneurs. Young urban consumers have a sustainable and conscious lifestyle. Let it Grow thinks that plants and flowers are a natural fit here. As a response, Let it Grow is uniting the floricultural world and the (start-up) world to seize the opportunities that arise as a result.”
Open innovation call
On May 10, Let it Grow is launching a global, open innovation call for entrepreneurs and creatives. They can apply with specific concepts that improve urban living with flowers and plants. The open innovation call’s theme is health & wellbeing. Silke: “The goal is to start a social movement out of the Netherlands with innovations that make cities and their inhabitants healthier and happier with flowers and plants.”
Let it Grow Lab
A skilled jury will select the initiatives that are going to be supported and coached in the green and colourful Let it Grow Lab in Amsterdam. From October, they will participate in a bespoke incubation programme that will last for five months. Let it Grow, together with Royal FloraHolland, will open up its international network and expertise. To realize their concepts, €100,000 in funding is available to the teams. The application deadline is September 10, 2016.
Note to editors
Let it Grow receives initial funding from Royal FloraHolland, the world’s largest auction for flowers and plants.
Retrieved from: Let It Grow International
Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (iED) becomes a new member of the StartUp Europe Awards Alliance
The Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (iED) is a Greek Organization committed to the promotion of innovation and the enhancing of the spirit of entrepreneurship. This organisation has just been added into the StartUp Europe Awards Alliance, being the Greek representative in this European competition rewarding entrepreneurship in the EU. This Alliance aims at gathering all the startups awards organisers around Europe in four levels (local, provincial, regional and national). The winners from each member state’s national contest in the eight categories (Cities, Creative Industries, ICTs, Green, Energy, Tourism, Social Innovation and Water) will come to the European final ceremony to be held in December 2016.
The iED’s main mission is to recognise entrepreneurship as a crucial factor for the development and cohesion of societies, by developing research and being in a position to provide innovative solutions that ease the growth of healthy entrepreneurship and promote employment. They adopt an anthropocentric approach and cooperate with social, academic and business partners, from Greece and abroad, aiming at producing know how, promoting entrepreneurial culture and enhancing the effectiveness and viability of enterprises.
StartUp Europe Awards is an initiative promoted by the European Commission and implemented by the Foundation Finnova, with the support of the StartUp Europe, aiming at rewarding and promoting the entrepreneurship in the European Union.
Startup Europe comes to Madrid
Startup Europe, the European Commission’s flagship initiative for startups, was in Madrid on the 27th of June to meet the main players of the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Spain has been one of the main countries for two Startup Europe projects: WELCOME and Startup Europe Partnership (SEP).
WELCOME has brought dozens of Spanish startups (such as Wayook, Videona, BeOnPrice) across Europe to make business and gain visibility and SEP has developed a European-wide matchmaking club for the best startups and corporates (Telefonica, BBVA, etc.).
The meet-up was held at 17:00 at IE Business School with the objective to have an open discussion on the impact of the Startup Europe initiative in Spain, how it could improve and how can European Commission collaborate with the Spanish ecosystem to develop more opportunities for startups and promote entrepreneurship.
The opening was delivered by Professor Paris de L´Etraz, Director of the Venture Lab Accelerator of IE Business School. Isidro Laso Ballesteros, Head of Unit for Startup Europe, led the discussion together with the project coordinators, Emilio Corchado from BISITE Accelerator (WELCOME) and Alberto Onetti from Mind the Bridge (SEP).
In attendance were various representatives from corporates, accelerators, investors, media and startups (such as Connector, Endeavor, TetuanValley, Fundera.eu, Google Campus, Banco Sabadell, Global Exchange) ensuring a rich and community-led discussion.
There was a general feeling that Spain and especially Madrid is a great place to start a startup, even if that isn’t a well-known fact outside of its borders. Overall, it was felt that the government should listen to the needs of the startup ecosystem and provide support where needed, otherwise not intervene. A particular call to action was to make conditions better for startups to scale up, namely with what concerns tax and fiscal regulation.
The meeting was very organic and fluid as members of the Spanish ecosystem are well aware of each other. The final point of the meeting was to invite everyone to attend the next IE venture day, 6th of July.
At 19:00, there was a press moment followed by networking and cocktail, where journalists had the opportunity to seize the room.
Professor Paris de L´Etraz, Director of the Venture Lab Accelerator of IE Business School, welcoming the attendees.
Alberto Onetti from Mind the Bridge (SEP) presenting the results of the project an opportunities for corporates.
Emilio Corchado from BISITE Accelerator (WELCOME) presenting opportunities for Spanish startups
WELCOME project – www.welcomestartup.eu
Short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWsjVt-lzp4
WELCOME strives to break down the barriers between 5 different major EU startup ecosystems (Berlin, Dublin, Milan, Madrid and Salamanca) and help tech startups to go international from the start.
Startup Europe Partnership – http://startupeuropepartnership.eu
Short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdOT9GdIeqI
Startup Europe Partnership is a platform where the best startups meet the best corporates, with a goal: to make things happen, whether that means procurement (corporates buy products and services from startups), strategic investments and eventually acquisition/acqui-hires.