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Boost to start-ups in Europe

24 November 2016, 00:50 CET
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Boost to start-ups in Europe

Bienkowska - Katainen - Photo EC - Mauro Bottaro

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission has launched a new initiative to help start-ups grow and do business across Europe, with a focus on venture capital investment, insolvency law and taxation.

The Start-up and Scale-up Initiative aims to give innovative entrepreneurs in Europe every opportunity to become world leading companies, pulling together the possibilities that the EU already offers.

While innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit are not lacking, many new firms don't make it beyond the critical first few years, or they try their luck in a third country instead of tapping into the EU's potential 500 million customer base. The Commission's initiative is aimed at helping start-ups deliver their full innovation and job creation potential.

"We want to help start-ups stay and grow in Europe," says Commissioner Jyrki Katainen: "By helping them navigate the – often perceived – regulatory barriers to fully benefiting from the Single Market. By making it easier for them to have a second chance, without being stigmatised if their idea doesn't succeed the first time around. And by improving access to funding by boosting private venture capital investment."

The Initiative brings together a range of existing and new actions to create a more coherent framework to allow start-ups to grow and do business across Europe, in particular:

Improved access to finance, with the launch of a Pan-European Venture Capital Fund of Funds. The EU will provide cornerstone investments of up to a maximum budget of €400 million and the fund manager(s) must raise at least three times as much from private sources, triggering a minimum of €1.6bn in venture capital funding.

A second chance for entrepreneurs, with a legislative proposal on insolvency law. It will allow companies in financial difficulties to restructure early on so as to prevent bankruptcy and avoid laying off staff.

Simpler tax filings, with the recent proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), which proposes to support small and innovative companies that want to expand their business across borders.

The Initiative also puts emphasis on helping navigate regulatory requirements, improving innovation support through reforms to Horizon 2020, and fostering ecosystems where start-ups can connect with potential partners such as investors, business partners, universities and research centres.

Changes to Horizon 2020 will pave the way towards a European Innovation Council and include using €1.6bn over 2018-2020 to provide bottom-up support for breakthrough innovation projects by start-ups with potential to grow.

The Commission promises to put forward proposals in 2017 for a Single Digital Gateway that provides easy online access to Single Market information, procedures, assistance and advice for citizens and businesses.

Factsheet: Start-up access to finance – EU funding and venture capital investment

Factsheet: A Supportive IPR Framework for SMEs and start-ups

Factsheet: Early restructuring and a second chance for entrepreneurs

Start-up and Scale-up Initiative

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