Imagination, Entrepreneurship and the EU
Each year the European Union spends billions of euros on an array of programmes with aims that include developing new technologies and encouraging Universities and business to work together. However, such initiatives can seem often more akin to the Eurovision Song contest; part of the cultural fabric, but only rarely delivering a big hit.
Picture a world where EU funding programmes and indeed the whole EU endeavour is focused on building high growth economies and facilitating entrepreneurial success. This may seem a strange thought while recession and the global financial crisis dominate. However, when the smoke of the financial crisis begins to clear, the reality will dawn that EU economies will stagnate without a vastly improved regime to support and deliver entrepreneurially driven, high growth businesses.
EU programmes and committees have many aims and aspirations, but stimulating entrepreneurship is meant to have high priority. In 2006, the European Commission published an Entrepreneurship Action Plan', which focuses on actions in five policy areas: entrepreneurial mindsets, incentives for entrepreneurs, competitiveness & growth, access to finance and red tape.
Of course, turning dreams into successful businesses is difficult. Walt Disney astutely observed 'I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral'. But, successful entrepreneurship demands more than just access to finance. It requires a special mix of talent and support infrastructures; above all a culture that promotes and rewards endeavour. However well meaning the aspirations of EU Action Plans, the reality is procurement requirements, development programmes and just not 'getting it' tend to reinforce a culture of low growth.
The EU was built on the dream of marrying peace, security and prosperity. The sobering reality is that those societies that are most successful in supporting entrepreneurial endeavour pull far ahead of the others and their Governments tend to have a growing tax base. Those that do not, have a falling tax base and will find it very difficult to fulfil the aspirations of their citizens. Times of great financial stress are also times of opportunity for change, and change the EU must.
In the run-up to the EU Parliamentary elections this June, EUbusiness.com will be discussing how the European Union can and must improve its support of high growth entrepreneurially led business. If you have views to put to the EU please contact us and we will do our best to get the powers that be to pay attention. Also if you would like to propose areas for EUbusiness to cover or wish to be contacted by EUbusiness.com for your views please email firstname.lastname@example.org (if contacting us anonymously please include what type of organisation you work for).