Neelie Kroes: Building a Startup Europe

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Digital technology is the future. The future for our society. And the future for an enterprising economy.  Already worth up to 8 per cent of GDP, the Internet is the natural home of innovation and growth.  Because it gives you not just new tools, but new ideas, and new ways to spread them. It’s taking away barriers and costs – over the last 15 years the cost of setting up a new business has come down by 100 times. And it’s giving you ever more avenues for success, new ground for you to explore and an ecosystem where your idea can flourish and grow.

And there’s so much on offer if we get it right. Completing the Digital Agenda for Europe could be worth 5% on GDP: an extra 1500 euros per European citizen.  If today, setting up a business is getting ever easier, it’s also getting ever more essential. We face the prospect of horrific unemployment: we can’t go on like this. We must invest in tomorrow’s growth, and grasp every opportunity we have.  Online, I see that opportunity everywhere. I see it in the new innovations that we all enjoy every day. I see it in the hundreds of millions of jobs on offer for those with the right skills. And most of all I see it in Europe’s cohort of talented innovators: in their skills and their attitude.  It is new businesses that can create jobs. And it is new digital technology that can unlock new opportunities. At the time, no politician can afford to ignore that. No person can afford to ignore that. Fixing our economy and finding jobs for the future is problem that keeps me awake at night, and many others too; we have to solve it.

And you know this is just the start. It’s not just about a new technology, not just a way of earning money. This is a new way to work together, not based on control and centralisation but on sharing and joining together. It’s a new attitude, one where anyone can spot an opportunity and take the risk to capture it.  I find that inspiring. Here to read more.

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