Europe is under-supporting and undervaluing its Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship always gets a capital E when I am discussing it because Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the economy. The European Commission states that its small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) “represent 99% of all businesses in the EU”. These small businesses and Entrepreneurs constitute the wealth drivers, job creators and innovators in any economy. This is something the US appears to understand quite clearly as they continue to heavily invest in the success and growth of its SMEs and Entrepreneurs. Other countries, such as the UK, Germany, Japan, Israel and India can also all be credited with significantly investing in their wealth creators.
The level of US investment comes from the creation of a complete ecosystem conducive to encouraging Entrepreneurship, the creative mindset and the pursuit of wealth creation through business startups. The ecosystem is formed through the introduction of educational systems, which promote Entrepreneurship and business, by providing mentoring support and relevant, timely business advice. Financial resources, investments through business angels, and venture capital are accessible to all. This provides Entrepreneurs with welcome support for the risk that they face. Entrepreneurship in the US represents an economic opportunity and lifestyle choice available to every citizen. The US does not stigmatise those who have failed, but rather encourages them to be a phoenix that rises from the ashes. Entrepreneurship is not viewed as a last resort, only for those who cannot find a job, unlike the attitude held in many countries in the European Union (EU).
As a result of the lack of investment in, and understanding of, Entrepreneurs in the EU, the EU has not seen the same vibrant startup growth. Early on, many teachers indoctrinate students with the belief that the pursuit of profit and business should not be a concern in their young minds. With the creation of such an early hurdle for wealth creators to overcome, it is no surprise that the European Entrepreneurial community is floundering. Creativity is removed from school curricula well before students are teenagers, and by the time students reach University, the Stanfords, Harvards and MITs of this world, all of which are housed in the US, have already passed over them. In the instances that Entrepreneurs do actually manage to build a business in Europe, it is not long before they are forced to extend their search for financing and investment further and further away from the EU, turning to the US or Asia for much needed capital. Venture Capital (VC) funding in the US is currently around $27 billion, while EU VC funding is only around $10 billion — even though Europe’s population is over one and a half times the size of the US.
The European Commission and the European project have not necessarily helped in this matter either. Besides in a few individual Member States like the UK, Germany, Sweden and Poland, Entrepreneurship is neither advocated nor promoted. Education is not the responsibility of the Commission, so even if Entrepreneurship education is proposed as a tool to stimulate growth it will need to be implemented by Member States – that’s a minimum 28 curricula! That also means Entrepreneurs will have to navigate around 28 different sets of rules to establish a company, 28 financing rules, and 28 sets of employment legislation. By the time an Entrepreneur manages to sell their goods and wants to expand across the borders, the headaches of running a business in Europe become unbearable because all the legislation that has to be considered alongside different linguistic and cultural barriers, not to mention the challenge posed by varying currency options.
Fortunately, many Entrepreneurs are optimists with a will to find their own way to succeed. One such Entrepreneur is Martin Bell, a successful serial Entrepreneur based in Berlin. Martin has advised and built over a hundred businesses from start up to Initial Public Offering (IPO). He has now described the process of his success in the 100 Tasks allowing others to benefit from his experience. His 100 Tasks distill the lessons he has learned about each aspect of growing a business, covering the entire value chain from initial idea to human resource requirements, technology needs, marketing, finance, operations, and supply chain management. It works as a structured guide for modern day business development, starting from the idea and taking the reader all the way through to the IPO or sale.
“My goal is to support startups in growing, expanding quickly and minimising inefficiencies, including tackling geographical issues by discussing rules/regulations and how to achieve product market fit” shared Martin. “By internationalising and expanding into other countries and correctly identifying the different cultural effects on consumer consumption, businesses have every opportunity to capture the growth their business needs. At the end of the day we have to work and believe that EU SMEs can soon rival and surpass US SMEs.”
Entrepreneurship is a challenge anywhere. The EU Commission cannot be forced to make the same changes that the US has made, nor can European member states governments be encouraged to step back and let Entrepreneurs get on with it on their own, even though we know from the data shared by Professor Rudy Aernoudt of Ghent Business School, Belgium, that “TEA (Total Entrepreneurial Activity) increases when governments leave Entrepreneurs alone.” However Europe has understood that Entrepreneurship remains an untapped resource that still needs to be nurtured if Europe is to grow and to succeed on the global business stage. Fostering an Entrepreneurial ecosystem provides a significant economic driver, as well as social impact on local employment, skills development, innovations, and community development. When viewed in this light the returns clearly far outweigh the heft of the required investment.
As an entrepreneur myself, and someone working on European policy to promote Entrepreneurship, I, like Martin Bell, recommend that a version of the 100 Tasks be developed for governments to use to create an Entrepreneurial culture conducive to fostering and maintaining a sustainable, stable startup ecosystem from which anyone from local communities to national governments can benefit and prosper.
Credit : https://eptoday.com/100-tasks-for-entrepreneurs-europe-is-under-supporting-and-undervaluing-its-entrepreneurs/