1200 of Europe’s startup movers and shakers, including @Ansip_EU and @GOettingerEU are in Berlin on 12-13 February for the first Startup Europe Summit. #SES15 The pop-up conference brings together Startup founders, investment funds, EU accelerators, tech bloggers and journalists, policy makers and major corporates at Factory, Berlin’s 16,000 sqm2 playground for entrepreneurs and innovators.

The Summit is showcasing new EU-funded initiatives to boost Europe’s tech and web startups. The EU has invested €18 million from Horizon 2020 in projects to link startup communities and hubs across borders, to nurture Europe’s entrepreneurial culture, encourage female entrepreneurship, transform attitudes to business failure and to ease collaboration. These are part of Startup Europe www.startupeurope.eu., the European Commission’s plan to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs so that their ideas and businesses can start and grow in the EU.

The European Commission’s €18 million investment will connect different parts of the startup community across 17 European cities (including Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Dublin, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Vilnius, Milan, Malmo, Lille, Nice, and Murcia). Together they will support 168 startups in the growth phase, reach 600 startups as part of accelerators and get help 32.000 people take their first steps in entrepreneurship. They emerged from two calls for proposals (ICT/13/2014 and ICT/35/2014) published last year

Connecting startup ecosystems

  • Welcome will link startup communities in Berlin, Dublin, Milan, Madrid and Salamanca. It aims to reach up to 22,000 potential entrepreneurs through activities including roadshows, meetups, mentoring programme, online courses and workshops to bring prospective, emerging and successful digital startups to the attention of potential investors, corporate clients and the media. This project will also coordinate the Accelerator Assembly, an industry-led forum to support and promote web-friendly accelerators in Europe and the Unicorns Forum which gathers the founders of Europe’s €500 million + startups
  • TWIST aims to tackle the high failure rate of new web and mobile companies in Rome, Lille, Warsaw and Stockholm. Advice and support from accelerators and potential investors through webinars, challenges, and mentoring programmes will help  entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses and compete in the global market
  • STARTUP SCALEUP is an accelerator programme for entrepreneurs who want to launch and grow companies focused on the Internet of Things and Services (IoTS) in Murcia, Zoetermeer, Vilnius and Dublin .
  • ePlus will give startups in Lisbon, Nice/Côte D’Azur and Heidelberg/Baden-Württemberg access to support and services including micro-grants, vouchers for expert services, e-mentoring so they can gain the knowledge and skills to compete, thrive, and to create new jobs.
  • Digistart is aimed at students, researchers and aspiring web entrepreneurs in Lisbon and Malmo. The project will help startups improve their business models and pricing decisions through training to improve their entrepreneurship and business analysis skills

Building entrepreneurial mindsets

  • STARTIFY7 will organise summer academies for budding entrepreneurs wanting to see big ideas take-off. Over 2015-2016, the project will run 10-day long summer courses in Sheffield (Digital healthcare), Trento (Cyber Security), Nuremburg (Cyber-Physical-Systems/Internet of Things), Almería (Industrial Simulations), Thessaloniki (Games and Gaming), Katowice (Next-Generation Enterprise Information Systems) and Enschede (Social and enterprise networks).
  • CREA will organise summer academies in Italy, Netherlands, Estonia, Slovenia, UK and Germany and also launch an EU ICIT business ideas contest.
  • EU-XCeL will host “startup scrums” in Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Greece, Poland and Spain, develop an EU Virtual incubator to nurture entrepreneurship mind-set in ICT students

Female entrepreneurshp

  • WeHubs plans support at least 300 female entrepreneurs, and help to increase the number of women this sector The  network kicks-of with nodes in UK, Greece, France, Germany, Norway and Lebanon and plans to expand throughout Europe.

Failing is Learning.

Two initiatives aim to tackle Europe’s risk-averse culture which may hold back those with a bright idea.

  • Learning from Failure (LIFE) aims to increase awareness that failure is an inherent part of the entrepreneurial and innovation process. An annual conference will help identify, share and discuss best practices and success stories.
  • FACE (Failure Aversion Change in Europe) Entrepreneurship will identify the most common fears of most common features and propose measures to reduce these obstacles. Aspiring entrepreneurs can face their fears on a gamification platform while events in 7 member states will demystify the concept of business failure.

Better collaboration

  • MY-WAY aims to better link student support centres to startup business networks. It will set up student support centres in Budapest, Zaragoza, London and Istanbul and rn . Student Enterprise Conferences will be organized in Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Bucharest. Stakeholder workshops will be organised in Brussels.
  • Also on stage in Berlin, the European Digital Forum an independent think tank dedicated to empowering tech entrepreneurs and growing Europe’s digital economy and the Startup Europe Partnership through which organisations like SAP, Microsoft, Telefonica, Orange, Unipol, BBVA, EIF, University of Cambridge and meet the best startups to make things happen. Both were unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos in early 2014 and are receiving EU funding for the first time in 2015.

What else does Startup Europe do?

In addition to the projects mentioned above the European Commission supports startups through: