Diogo Vasconcelos, one of the most dynamic entrepreneurs and thinkers when it comes to social innovation, died 8 years ago. Vasconcelos was linked to a prestigious European Commission Prize for Social Innovation for his belief in the immediate need for a ‘Start Up’ Europe. Vasconcelos believed that this type of Europe “must be a commitment between Governments and Civil Society, with the primary role handed over to universities, companies, and centres of innovation as the active drivers of competitiveness”.

A Start Up Europe must establish itself as an “enabler actor” in a very demanding world and introduce into society and the economy a capital of trust and innovation that is essential to ensure a central leadership in the future relations between the different social and economic players.

These new actors should be more global, capable of driving the social matrix for building and selling knowledge as a mobile asset on the global market. More than ever, we need to focus on added value as the basis of a new society that is more equal and competitive.

Universities and companies have a central role in this new Start Up Europe. They must perform a new strategic partnership based on the objectives of added value, creativity, and knowledge. This is the basis for an effective implementation of future European innovation and digital programmes. Most of the countries still see a strong opportunity to implement an agenda of innovation.

This new and innovative Europe must also be based on central projects like the poles of competitiveness, clusters of innovation, as well as knowledge cities and regions. These projects are the effective confirmation that the basis for a new agenda depends on the capacity of universities, companies, and centres of innovation to develop a new strategic agenda of excellence. Start Up Europe is the core of the development for new solutions based on new products and services that are more connected with the challenges of a more global and complex society. 

  Start Up Europe allows people to know who they are and have a strong commitment with the values of freedom, social justice, and development. In times of change and uncertainty, Europe’s nations must regain find their strategic competitive advantage while at the same time reinforcing its social dimension.

In this way it is essential to learn the lessons that more than ever emerge from a world that is trying to rebuild its competitive advantage and to reinvent its effective place in a complex and global network of relations. This is the Europe that Vasconcelos defended and the one in which we also strongly believe in.