The European startup ecosystem has never been stronger, with unprecedented levels of available capital and talent, and ever-growing ambition of founders and teams. After decades of hard work, we are seeing innovative businesses emerge from every corner of Europe. Startups that began as back-of-an-envelope ideas have grown into unicorns and publicly traded companies valued at tens of billions, creating hundreds of thousands of highly-qualified new jobs every year.
However, to continue to build on this momentum, and to make Europe the most entrepreneurial continent, startups need to become a strategic priority for policymakers. The countries with startup-friendly legislation will be the ones to benefit from the resulting innovation and economic growth. This will be especially important for post-Covid economic recovery.
This is why today, we, the founders of Europe’s startups, welcome the launch of the EU Startup Nations Standard. We applaud the EU’s ambition of seeking a pan-European solution to address the needs of startups and urge every Member State to adopt and implement it urgently. We need a pan-European approach to help startups achieve their full potential.
The new Standard is designed to fuel the creation of the next generation of successful European tech giants and will help the continent compete with powerful global tech hubs in the US and China. It tackles barriers currently hindering the growth of startups, and if implemented across the continent, will make it easier to start a business, attract capital, expand across borders and hire and retain top talent.
Two years ago, more than 500 leading European entrepreneurs joined the Not Optional campaign, advocating for a legal reform of stock options and highlighting that “the limited availability of talent to nurture and fuel [Europe’s] blossoming start-up ecosystem is a serious bottleneck to growth.” Today, we are encouraged that the European Commission has specifically called out the treatment of stock options as one of the key policy areas in need of change. If implemented, startups will no longer be hamstrung by an inability to use stock options effectively to attract and retain world-class talent.
As founders and CEOs of businesses that contribute significantly to Europe’s economy, we will support and celebrate national governments as they take the steps required to become ‘Startup Nations’.
Supporting Startup Associations