Commissioner Mariya Gabriel endorses the Western Balkan policy recommendations
It was only on 15 November 2018 at Startup Europe Summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, that the Founding Members of the Startup Europe Central and Eastern Europe Network (SECEEN) and the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network (SEWBN) publicly signed a Joint Declaration aimed at reinforcing the tech entrepreneurship ecosystems of their regions. Four months later, the Founding Members of the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network (Seavus Educational and Development Center – North Macedonia; Serbia Start Up- Serbia; Oficina- Albania; Innovation Centre Kosovo- Kosovo*; Digitalizuj.me- Montenegro; SPARK poslovni park d.o.o- Bosnia and Herzegovina) are proud to present the first joint effort from the Network– the Policy Recommendations reflecting the main challenges the Western Balkan countries need to tackle in order to thrive and be further connected to the European entrepreneurial ecosystem.
In her opening speech in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, at the Startup Europe Summit 2019, Mariya Gabriel highlighted the perfect timing for the Startup Europe Central and Eastern Europe Network and Startup Europe Western Balkans Network to be established, which is why she supported their launch back in November.
“[The Networks] focus on existing barriers for growth in the region and this Summit, now in Romania, is crucial because they will present publicly a set of concrete and actionable recommendations for European leaders and policymakers” – Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society
The Commissioner strongly believes that the policy recommendations are just the beginning of a long journey and everyone’s support is needed for the winds of change to blow strong. Throughout her speech, she pushed for active participation from all startups coming from Central and Eastern Europe and, in particular, the Western Balkan region and stressed that the opportunities provided by the Digital Agenda for Western Balkans should be seized. This is the only way for a truly Digital Single Market to be created.
Soon afterwards, Mariya Gabriel was handed over the policy recommendations by Europa Media Group, the Hungarian founding member and the leader of the two Networks, about which she said:
“This set of policy recommendations will facilitate the development of the Networks and contribute to the economic progress of their regions.”
Mariya Gabriel’s endorsement is already providing the boost that Western Balkan voices need in order to be heard by ecosystem players across Europe, thereby allowing everyone to benefit from a more equal and leveraged European startup ecosystem.
Concerning the policy recommendations for the Western Balkans
The policy recommendations, which are the very first joint endeavour of the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network, aim to facilitate the internationalisation of the Western Balkan countries and promote them in macroeconomic environments, as well as building bridges across the participating markets and cultures. In the long-run, the Western Balkan countries have a huge potential to become new hot spots attracting startups and innovators from all over Europe. However, common structural challenges must be addressed first through target measures. Some of the strategies that could be highlighted include building new collaboration mechanisms and support the existing ones, nurturing soft-landing opportunities and enhancing coordination both at national and regional levels.
For more information pertaining to the work of the Startup Europe Central and Eastern Europe Network and the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network, please contact Krisztina Toth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
Vilnius Blockchain Week: Startup Lighthouse & Soft-Landing gather blockchain startups and ecosystem builders in Lithuania
Vilnius Blockchain Week is over – what a blast! Two Startup Europe projects brought it to life: Soft-Landing and Startup Lighthouse!
The initiative brought around 40 participants to deep-dive into the city’s startup ecosystem with the main focus on understanding what part blockchain plays in it and build connections with blockchain leaders in Lithuania. (more…)
Soft-landing: a new Startup Europe project
Soft-landing is a 24-month project that will connect startup ecosystems through numerous exchanges of key representatives that will strengthen the knowledge about EU, US, and India’s startup scene, build strong networks and trust between the ecosystem stakeholders, and help European startups scale by providing Soft-landing support in target destinations.
The project is coordinated by Startup Division. Startup Division is a leading startup support organisation in the EU connecting broad networks in Europe and building bridges between startup ecosystems globally. Through a variety of pan-European and global projects, Startup Division collaborates with numerous renowned accelerators, incubators, investors, business angels & venture capitals. Startup Division helps startups scale, expand globally and raise funds by providing expert mentorship, running world-wide entrepreneurship support projects, helping to access investors, top-notch accelerators & incubators, and providing soft-landing support.
Startup Division is accompanied by 4 great partners – F6S, GTEC – German Tech Entrepreneurship Center, IMT Starter, Crosspring Lab. Here is some more about the team that make up the Soft-landing project:
- Crosspring Lab in The Netherlands is ICT focused incubator/accelerator with its own investment programme and has a strong track record of successfully scaling its startups. Crosspring Lab are experts of innovation and commercialisation that have helped numerous ICT startups to grow and scale.
- IMT Starter in France is based in the Paris metropolitan area the IMT Starter Incubator has accompanied and helped to scale 180+ IT companies that have created 1,600 jobs. It has strong ties with Silicon Valley through its immersion programme and has an Alumni network of 15,000 experienced and successful entrepreneurs and mentors.
- GTEC in Germany is a first private-sector open campus for entrepreneurship in Europe. Since 2015 GTEC hosted 50+ startups from 10+ countries, worked with 4000+ founders, managers and experts from leading international corporations and institutions (such as Bosch, Postbank, Airbus, Energy Australia, Statoil, Mercedes-Benz).
- F6S in The United Kingdom is the largest social network for Startups in the World, that has over 1,800,000 profiles for the Startup & SME community and more than 680,000 Startups, and supports the majority of the EU Startup and SME ecosystem through deal flow and applications.
Main Soft-landing activities will consist of Ecosystem Discovery Missions, Soft-Landing stays and Speaker & Mentor Exchanges. Throughout the span of the project, 200 missions, 96 soft-landings and 50+ speaker exchanges will take place. The ecosystems will connect not only all 4 hubs, but will also reach out to US, India, and potentially China and/or Israel. Over 2 years more than 100 feedback events will take place after each mission and soft-landing where all startups and key ecosystem builders will come to present their experiences and share their knowledge.