November 2023

New Digital Leaders

The year 2023 marked 15 years from the launch of the first App Store with apps now playing an increasingly important role in our lives and the economy. At the High-Level Roundtable on New Digital Leaders, Women and the Future of the App Economy, convened by the Lisbon Council and the Progressive Policy Institute, decision-makers met innovative app developers to discuss the growth of the European app economy and how more diversity can help propel it even further.

App stores opened the market for new players and a more diverse set of entrepreneurs and they provided an opportunity for developers to think of new, unexpected services, addressing all sorts of niche needs and targets too small to be addressed by the industry. This is particularly relevant when it comes to the involvement of women in Information and Communication Technology. In Europe, eight out of ten Information and Communication Technology positions are held by men, reflecting a similar ratio in Information and Communication Technology education. In the 2023 Report on the state of the digital decade, the European Commission hence urged member states to take action to promote women’s access to the Information and Communication Technology field from an early stage. But is the app economy still growing? Can this growth provide a pathway for women to enter the Information and Communication Technology labour market?

A roundtable composed of Renate Nikolay, deputy director-general of the European Commission directorate-general for communications networks, content and technology; Inès Ben Amor, chief executive officer, Luna; Anna Neovesky, co-founder, Coding Friends UG; Karina Nimară, head of European Union office of Developers’ Alliance; and Michael J. Mandel, vice president and chief economist at the Progressive Policy Institute addressed these questions.

The discussion was informed by the launch of the EU App Economy: Skills for the Digital Age, a report by Dr. Michael J. Mandel, vice president and chief economist at the Progressive Policy Institute.

Download Michael J. Mandel presentation

Download The Progressive Policy Institute Report EU App Economy: Skills for the Digital Age