BizSpark: realising the full potential of start-ups in Europe
According to the European Commission
, the 23 million SMEs
in the EU represent 99% of businesses, and are a key driver for economic growth, innovation, employment and social integration. It is therefore crucial that EU institutions, governments and the private sector nurture new innovative companies, promote successful entrepreneurship and improve the business environment for SMEs and start-ups. This will help them to realise their full potential
in today's global economy.
I’m part of a team here at Microsoft focused on fostering the development of innovative companies. If these companies do well, of course we too stand to gain. Apart from our technology, four years ago we launched BizSpark
, a global program that helps software startups succeed by giving them access to software development tools, connecting them with key industry players and investors, and providing marketing visibility to help entrepreneurs start their business.
BizSpark is a global program, but it has been hugely successful – at the moment, we have around 14,000 European startups enrolled. Each year, one of the biggest focal points for BizSpark in Europe is our annual Summit, so I’m delighted to announce that this year’s event will take place in London on June 7th.
Now in its 8th year, the summit brings together thought leaders in the entrepreneurial community across Europe - investors, network partners, start-ups, journalists and government representatives. The event provides a unique platform to debate issues facing tech entrepreneurs, and see some of the best start-ups in Europe. These start-ups will have the opportunity to pitch their business idea in front of an audience of investors and panel of expert judges.
Besides the live pitch, the agenda of the summit will also include keynote speeches and sessions that will look at the heart of what is driving tech innovation and the start-up economy in London, including: The Future of Apps, The Business of Cloud, and debating The Evolution of Tech Talent.
But, for me, it is all about the start-ups and it is great to see how past winners have evolved. In 2009, Swiss company KeyLemon
wowed the judges with its face recognition technology and has enjoyed steady success since. In 2010, the joint winners were Artesian Solutions and Kobojo
. Last year, French games company Kobojo secured over 5 million Euros of investment, has expanded into other countries worldwide and has reached over one million active daily users. Early this year, Artesian Solutions
announced that investor firm Octopus was investing £2 million in this successful young British company, which focuses on sales intelligence.
Last year’s winner is Mopapp
, whose CEO Allesandro Rizzoli impressed the judges with his ingenious mobile appstore aggregation service. Alessandro has since relocated the company from Italy to London and the company continues to grow.
to view the full agenda of the event or register and connect with us on Twitter, using #BizSparkEU