October 2015

Günther Oettinger Opens Startup Europe Forum at ICT2015 in Lisbon

The European Digital Forum, an inter-disciplinary research hub co-managed by the Lisbon Council and Nesta, took centre stage at ICT 2015: Innovate, Connect, Transform in Lisbon on 20-22 October 2015. ICT 2015 is the European Union’s flagship digital conference that united 7,000 innovators, entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses, corporate leaders, private investors, regional and national policymakers and digital-era luminaries from throughout Europe for intense policy debates, stimulating keynotes, dynamic new research and high-level networking. This year, the European Digital Forum was proud to co-host the Startup Europe Forum, an intellectually vibrant parallel track of unprecedented discussions and debates that took place inside of the conference. Günther Oettinger, European commissioner for digital economy and society, kicked off the opening plenary of the Startup Europe Forum with a “hard talk,” led by Politico’s Zoya Sheftalovich and Paul Hofheinz, president and co-founder of the Lisbon Council and director of the European Digital Forum. Later, Brigitte Baumann, founder and CEO of GoBeyond and president emeritus of the European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds and Early Stage Market Players (EBAN); Marie Ekeland, co-president of France DigitaleNikita Fahrenholz, co-founder and CEO of Book a Tiger and co-founder of Delivery Hero, one of four German “unicorns;” Inês Henriques, CEO of Ynvisible; Miguel Leitmann, senior vice-president of Vision Box; António Murta, co-founder and managing partner of Pathena and digital champion of Portugal; Carlos Torres Vila, president and chief operating officer of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA); Matthias Ummenhofer, founder and managing director of mojo.capital; and Linnar Viik, co-founder of Pocopay and associate professor at Estonian Information Technology College, took the stage to discuss how Europe can become a better place to start and scale up. Next day, the European Digital Forum convened a session entitled Startup Manifesto Movement: Driving Change Throughout Europe. The session explored the recent success and future prospects of the “startup manifesto movement,” a grassroots development, led by entrepreneurs, to raise the voice of startups and build more effective eco-systems in the European Union’s 28 member states. The co-authors of all 10 national startup manifestos were on hand to discuss the secrets of their success – and the challenges that remain. Carmen Bermejo, CEO of Tetuan Valley and co-author of the Spain Startup Manifesto; Karen Boers, co-founder and managing director of startups.be and co-author of the Belgium Startup Manifesto; Dimitris Drakoulis, president of the Greek association of computer engineers and co-author of the Greece Startup Manifesto; Przemysław Grzywa, vice-president of Youth Forum at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Katowice and co-author of the Poland Startup Manifesto; Nils-Erik Jansson, president of Young Entrepreneurs of Sweden and co-author of the Sweden Startup Manifesto; Stavriana Kofteros, special entrepreneurship and development adviser of Democratic Rally in Cyprus and co-author of the Cyprus Startup Manifesto; Eliza Kruczkowska, president of Startup Poland and co-author of the Startup Poland Manifesto; Guy Levin, executive director of Coadec and co-author of the United Kingdom Startup Manifesto; Miroslav Rebernik, professor at the University of Maribor and co-author of the Slovenia Startup Manifesto; and Bastiaan Zwanenburg, managing director of Young Creators and co-author of the Netherlands Startup Manifesto, joined the debate. Peter Balík, director of the department for innovation and digital economy at the Slovak ministry of economy joined as special guest. The European Digital Forum used the occasion to launch the Startup Manifesto Policy Tracker, a new online tool for tracking startup-friendly reform in EU member states. Later in the day, the European Digital Forum launched the European Digital City Index, a ground-breaking interactive tool that provides compelling evidence of how well different European cities are prepared to support digital entrepreneurship and ranks their digital readiness. Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of Nesta, co-manager of the European Digital Forum, presented this fascinating new research – and offered a tour d’horizon on making Europe a more cohesive society and a better place to do business. On the third day of the ICT2015 conference, Sherry Coutu, serial entrepreneur, business angel and author of the highly influential Scale-Up Report, discussed the challenge and opportunity of “scaling up” businesses – and proposed at 12-point plan for making Europe a better place to develop healthy, prosperous companies.