The European Commission has revealed its Initiative on Start-up and Scale-up, which places a strong emphasis on the role of social enterprises.
The initiative is designed to address three obstacles faced by start-ups in Europe: access to finance, complying with regulatory and administrative requirements, and connecting to the right business partners.
Cooperatives Europe, the regional office of the International Co-operative Alliance, has welcomed the Commission’s strategy for the recognition it gives to the potential for innovation of social enterprises. The commission is also encouraging social economy start-ups to scale up by promoting better access to finance and improving access to markets.
Announcing the initiative, Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen, who is responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Today’s local start-ups could become tomorrow’s global success stories. We want to help start-ups stay and grow in Europe. By helping them navigate the 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.”
Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, added: “Today start-ups do not fully take advantage of the opportunities of the Single Market. Starting and scaling up a company across Europe has to become simpler. Europe needs to become the first choice place for great business ideas to grow into successful companies. This is about new jobs, innovation and competitiveness for Europe.”
Agnés Mathis, director of Cooperatives Europe, also commented: “With this Initiative, the Commission, through Social Economy, recognises the impact of co-operative enterprises, thus allowing them to benefit from a level playing field for their capacity to innovate as well as supporting youth entrepreneurial initiatives.”