Support and encourage startup research and investment: Identifying and disseminating best-in-class pan-European investment instruments.

April 29, 2024
startup research

By Miguel Ferrer, SVP Strategy and Public Agenda – Adigital / EsTech

Startups and scaleups play a crucial role in enhancing European competitiveness and driving the shift towards a new, innovative production model. These companies have demonstrated the potential to elevate the continent’s productivity, attract international investment, generate employment, and foster innovation across various sectors, benefiting both the economy and society at large. They serve as catalysts for developing critical digital technologies, a key issue for Europe’s global position.

Given these reasons, fostering the growth, scalability and global expansion of startups and scaleups presents a collective challenge and should be a top priority for the EU’s agenda. By supporting these companies and establishing them as European Technological Champions, we can reduce the technological gap with other regions and position Europe as a formidable competitor on the global stage.

While this issue is not new and has been under discussion for years, the current geopolitical landscape underscores the urgent need for action.  The challenges and opportunities facing startups and scaleups have never been more significant. As we look ahead to the next European legislative term, this became a major opportunity. 

A fundamental aspect of this support is ensuring that startups receive adequate attention and backing from public institutions, policymakers, and the broader ecosystem. These often involve access to capital and talent, and reducing bureaucratic complexities.

To address these challenges effectively, a harmonized regulatory framework across the EU is imperative. This framework should facilitate a seamless single market – following the Letta report – for startups to expand their operations and provide measures that streamline financing and talent acquisition during critical growth phases.

Regarding international investment, there is significant fragmentation within the EU. Greater regulatory harmonization across countries, reduced tax burdens, and a more integrated single capital market  (Capital Markets Union) are part of the solution to increase the number of funding opportunities. Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton himself has highlighted this challenge as a critical issue for Europe’s competitiveness.

Furthermore, deeper engagement of startups and scaleups in European policymaking can improve access to EU public investment. Initiatives like the European Innovation Council and the European Tech Champions initiative, supported by substantial funds, including Spain’s participation through the Next Tech Fund, exemplify the potential for strategic collaboration. Additionally, recognizing the distinctive nature of startups and scale-ups, it is imperative to provide them with dedicated attention and policy guidance. Establishing a parliamentary intergroup dedicated to addressing their specific needs, a mission recently embraced by Allied For Startups, ensures that policy reforms consider their perspectives and challenges, making better policies a tangible reality.

It’s clear that building a digital and innovative Europe requires a collective effort involving governments, scaleups, and entrepreneurs. By prioritizing policies that incentivize innovation, provide regulatory certainty, and facilitate access to financing and public funds, we can empower startups to invest in their digital transformation and growth.

Through this comprehensive strategy, we can cultivate an environment for European champions, reinforcing the EU’s global leadership position and consolidating its strategic autonomy.

🇪🇸 Adigital, an Allied For Startups member, is the Spanish Association for the Digital Economy. It is an organization composed of more than 500 large companies, SMEs and startups, from very different sectors, united by a common goal: to create in Spain and Europe an optimal environment for the development and growth of the digital economy as a means to build a more competitive, efficient and productive society.

🔗 https://www.adigital.org

🇪🇸 España Tech, or EsTech, is a member of Allied For Startups and a platform of high-growth technology-based companies in Spain. It promotes a new action plan that, from leadership and general interest, makes it possible to measure and make visible companies’ impact and contribution to the economy, environment and labor market, as well as increasing its participation in public policies.

🔗 https://www.es-tech.es