Current trends in European funding for smart and sustainable growth
I’m glad to see that alongside the topic of sustainable cloud computing, a central theme at this year’s BizSpark Summit
will be on funding solutions for small and medium-size businesses (SMEs). It needs to be discussed.
Funding in Europe is notoriously difficult, which has meant that Europe has compromised its growth potential in terms of business innovation, allowing other markets to accelerate ahead. I often meet with CEOs of ICT start-ups and during our conversations, their funding challenges often come up.
For many years now, Microsoft has been working extensively with ICT start-ups to help them survive and thrive in the first few years in business, for the simple reason that they represent our potential partners of tomorrow. We have an extensive partner network, or as we call it ‘the ecosystem.’ In essence, our ecosystem is a thriving community of ICT professionals from companies of all sizes which use Microsoft technology to develop new innovations for their own businesses.
To help nurture that ecosystem, the BizSpark program provides a platform for collaboration between investors, business angels and ICT start-ups. We also do our fair share by providing early stage start-ups with software and support. Start-ups too often fail because they cannot afford the initial IT set-up investment or are unable to make the right connections with the people who need to hear about their big idea. Facilitating these connections is one of the critical efforts of our BizSpark team, connecting start-ups with educators, buyers, government agencies, investors, consultants, lawyers, banks or others.
Fortunately, we’re now seeing new funding initiatives starting to surface because of the lack of capital from traditional sources. At the European BizSpark Summit happening today, entrepreneurs and investors will discuss current and emerging financing models such as business angels, crowd funding, corporate incubation and bootstrapping, which we hope will help bring back Europe’s competitive edge.
The Director General, Heinz Zourek of DG Enterprise and Industry will be keynoting at the event. As he is driving two flagship initiatives under Barroso’s Europe 2020
growth strategy to help improve Europe’s business environment and industrial base to compete globally, we are looking forward to a dynamic speech.