EUROPEAN DIGITAL FORUM
The European Digital Forum is the think tank arm of the Startup Europe initiative. Fully independent, it combines first-rate research with cutting-edge collaborative tools and a high-powered community of startups, scale ups, policymakers and digital aficionados in a powerful cocktail that defines the cutting edge of Europe’s digital agenda. In just over two years, it has produced seven publications, two annual editions of the European Digital City Index and engaged more than 2000 citizens, policymakers, startup leaders and think tankers in its high-level debates. Find out more at www.europeandigitalforum.eu.
The EDFx project is structured around six specific objectives:
Objective 1: The promotion of tech/web entrepreneurship by organising and hosting events and serving as venues for tech entrepreneurs, other businesses and policymakers. These are both stand-alone occasions and sessions within the programmes of major tech/web conferences. The EDF aims to add the all-important aspect of public policy to the discussions and to facilitate cross-fertilisation between the EDF community and that of the leading tech forum, leading to greater synergy, impact and reach. The EDFx project successfully hosted six high-level summits:
- Two breakout sessions at the Startup Europe Summit in Berlin, February 2015
- The 2015 European Digital Forum in Brussels, keynoted by European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip, June 2015
- The European Startup Forum at ICT 2015, opened by European Commission Günther Oettinger, in Lisbon, October 2015
- The European Scale-up Day at CeBIT, keynoted by European Commission Günther Oettinger, March 2016
- The Scale Up Manifesto session at the Digital Assembly in Bratislava, September 2016
- The 2016 European Digital Forum in Brussels, keynoted by European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, November 2016
Objective 2: Conducting innovative policy-oriented research. The EDFx produced two annual editions of the European Digital City Index to allow stakeholders to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the startup ecosystems in different cities, as well as the cities’ digital readiness.
- The European Digital City Index (EDCi) describes how well different European cities support digital entrepreneurship.For startups and scale-ups, it provides information about the strengths and weaknesses of local ecosystems, allowing them to plan accordingly and consider where they may need to devote more resources.
- For policy makers aiming to encourage digital entrepreneurship in their own city, the Index helps to identify existing and promising hubs of activity, in order to learn from their practices. Additionally, it allows benchmarking of performance against other European hubs, and helps identify which policy areas to prioritise.
Objective 3: Spreading the best practices of policies stimulating web entrepreneurship by creating the best practices repository. This objective stems from the Startup Manifesto (action 21) that reads, “to provide a resource where local and national governments can share the best ‘hacks’ they found to achieve immediate impact.” EDFx aims to collect and analyse examples of policy initiatives across the globe aimed at facilitating web/tech entrepreneurship and supporting better innovation ecosystems.
- While national policy is vital, we must remember that entrepreneurs are also affected by their local environment. Sub-national bodies like chambers of commerce, cluster managers, councils and local regulators – as well as universities and big business – can all influence entrepreneurs’ decisions and affect the framework within which startups thrive or die.The idea bank is therefore intended specifically to help local policymakers and influencers create better conditions for entrepreneurship at the regional or city level. Intended as a ‘bank of ideas’, it draws together examples from all over the world of policies and initiatives that support startups, especially digital startups, in an effort to provide inspiration and options to European policymakers.
- Policies are grouped together under the 10 themes used in the European Digital City Index (EDCi) – which this guide is intended to complement – together with an 11th, cross-cutting theme relating to the process of policymaking. It concludes with some tools to assist in choosing, developing and implementing these policies.
Objective 4: Building and maintaining a vibrant network of leading-edge thinkers, inspirational entrepreneurs, digital startups, thought leaders, captains of industry, policymakers and other stakeholders. The diversity of this community and high professionalism of its members is its key assets, enabling cross-fertilisation of expertise and designing new solutions and models to drive Europe’s digital economy forward.
- The EDFx project has engaged more than 2000 citizens, policymakers, startup leaders and think tankers.
Objective 5: An active and professional dissemination and communication campaign will help inform a wide array of stakeholders, including tech entrepreneurs, policymakers and other interested and relevant parties.
- The EDFx project energised and engaged the groups typically associated with tech/web entrepreneurship – founders, investors, corporate leaders and policymakers with a digital portfolio, tech press – but also reached to other groups, typically not associated with web/tech entrepreneurship: mainstream policymakers, economists, and non-tech media.
- Up to 2,000 people and organisations follow the European Digital Forum on Twitter.
Objective 6: EDFx is to be constructively and pro-actively involved in policy dialogue, contributing its expertise in on-going discussions.
- It provided policy support and monitoring in the field of web/tech entrepreneurs and elevated the voice of tech entrepreneurs in policy debates. In particular, it monitored the progress of the Startup Manifesto by using an innovative, one-of-its-kind visualisation tool – the Startup Manifesto Policy Tracker. This tool provided an easy-to-understand overview of how far each EU member state is implementing the different actions put forward. This has the potential to inform a wider group of people, but it also has the likely effect of initiating a healthy competition between EU member states to improve their relative ranking.
- This monitoring and analysis was presented in The 2016 Startup Nation Scoreboard.
- In September 2016, the European Digital Forum launched the Scale Up Europe Manifesto. In 2016, European Commissioner Günther Oettinger spoke passionately to a group of leading startups at CeBIT, the global event for digital business, in Hannover, Germany. “Tell me what I need to do to help startups to scale up in Europe and together we will do it.” he said, his eyes visibly bright as he tossed out the challenge. The result is The Scale Up Manifesto, a 49-point roadmap which draws from the unique insights of dozens of leading European startup associations and successful entrepreneurs. The measures are divided into six headings: 1) complete the single market, 2) mobilise capital, 3) activate talent, 4) power innovation, 5) broaden education and 6) monitor, measure and evaluate.