The digital economy is speeding commerce and creating new businesses and new business models. The more we can do to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in Europe, the more economic growth and jobs we can create.
Europe’s app economy is a great example. Today the app economy employs nearly 2 million people. And that’s expected to rise to nearly 5 million by 2018 – when it’s also expected to contribute €63 billion to the EU economy.
A few weeks ago, I participated in a discussion on tech start-ups and why they are a critical part of Europe’s economic recovery at an event in Athens organized by the European Liberal Forum and sponsored by AT&T and the Forum for Greece. Athens provided a great backdrop for this discussion given Greece’s success in cultivating start-ups.
How can we help encourage more tech start-ups across Europe? Here are my thoughts:
- We need to foster a highly skilled workforce. Estimates show that Europe faces up to 900,000 unfilled ICT jobs and the number of digital jobs are growing by 3% each year. Technological change transforms the skills and education needed for success. It eliminates some old jobs and spawns new ones. Ensuring students have skills in science, technology, engineering and math – can not only help encourage more tech startups – it can also deliver employees that can work for them.
- Drive the disruption. It’s important that all of us – both the public and private sectors – are creating a culture that drives innovation. Let’s make it easier for innovators to deliver the new technologies that promise to make our lives better. Efforts in Europe to create accelerators and incubators for start-ups are helping in this area – since 2007, the number has risen nearly 400%. At AT&T, we’re working to make it easier for entrepreneurs by opening our network to innovators. We’re giving app developers around the globe more opportunities and inspiring new ideas from within through our AT&T Foundry innovation centers, our Developer Hackathons, our Innovation Pipeline for employees and more.
- We need to enable investment in new ideas. Unfortunately, Europe has a fragmented market today with 28 different regulatory structures, copyright policies, privacy policies, etc. Facing this system is daunting for any company. And it’s also a disincentive for investing in a new company. On a positive note, the European Commission began the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan last year to help encourage economic growth and innovation. As the Commission noted, the best way to create jobs, innovate, restore competitiveness and emerge stronger from the financial crisis is to promote entrepreneurs and remove obstacles in their way. The plan focuses on start-ups and measures to close the gap with entrepreneurs in Europe.
When we make it easier for entrepreneurs to take a risk and keep expanding on the opportunities the Internet creates.
– See more at: http://www.attglobalpolicy.com/3-ways-to-encourage-more-tech-start-ups/#sthash.0fbUIJAk.dpuf