We need to have a debate about how we can make Europe the place where American startup companies want to move to, rather than the opposite. So let’s use this as a starting point. The Startup Leaders Club, an independent group of entrepreneurs and investors in the tech entrepreneurship field in Europe started by Vice-President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes, have released a manifesto of how Europe should transition their policies to make the EU more startup-friendly.
The Leaders Club is fairly Nordics focused (as it should be, given our booming success) and counts four out of its nine members from the region. More specifically, it includes Daniel Ek, Founder & CEO of Spotify; Martin Lorentzon, Founder and Chairman of Spotify; Kaj Hed, Chairman of Rovio; and Niklas Zennström CEO of Atomico.
Their manifesto lists 22 actions in areas like education, access to talent, access to capital, data policies, and thought leadership.
To point out the more notable proposals, they include a pan-european startup visa to make it easier for outside talent to work and start companies in the European Union. A similar proposal has been debated for some time in the United States.
Additionally they hope to clear the path for high-growth companies to raise money on public markets, which is something I’m really behind. If we want our high-tech companies to grow big enough to IPO, then we need to have our own markets instead of giving companies no other options than to move to the United States.
They call for a new cross-border corporation type, they dub an E-Corp, which would simplify business creation, and make it easier for cross-border investment. And unified data collection laws are also on their list, to make it more simple for companies to use and store information, rather than the complicated mess of different laws.
Additionally within their demands, they call for a Chief Digital Officer for every european country, who would have this booming sector of the european economy on their minds.
With the petition, they hope to get as much support as possible by September 30th. At the time of publication around 2,400 people have signed the manifesto. ArcticStartup is in support of these policies, so we encourage you to help get some momentum behind it. It might be a meaningless petition, but something needs to happen at the European level to help make us more competitive. At the very least, more eyeballs on these points will help us better debate what we need to do together.
As an aside, the proposals all seem sound, so it’s a pitty they’re all locked behind that web design, or trapped in a pdf. My first impression of the site was the exact opposite; I thought it was a really hot layout and compelling to look at, but I don’t think anyone landing there was excited to find all those boxes to scroll through to see what they’re actually trying to say. And it’s a manifesto! From the very top of the page I want to see some WE DEMANDs so I can shout “hell yeah!” and bang my hands on my desk and click “sign this thing” like someone excited about turning Europe into the place people want to start companies. Regardless, read it and sign it here.
Are there any other points that a manifesto should include? Let us know in the comments.