Microsoft Joins Startup Europe Partnership

Microsoft Joins Startup Europe Partnership to Support Growth of European Startup Ecosystem

“Digital Venice 2014” – Prime Minister of Italy and
Policy Makers to Shape Future of Digital Europe

Venice, 8 July 2014 — Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) announced that Microsoft has joined this pan-European accelerator to help the best European startups transform into “scaleups” able to break the early-stage barriers to growth and development. The announcement was made today at the plenary session of “Digital Venice 2014” held at the Venetian Arsenal, organized by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the City of Venice, with the support of the European Commission.

“Microsoft has a real and growing commitment to Europe. By joining the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), Microsoft is helping to build communities where tech and web entrepreneurs can start-up, scale-up and go global. Microsoft’s own journey offers many lessons and examples for everyone working on digital issues,” said Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission.

Microsoft joins Telefónica, Orange, BBVA, Telecom Italia and Unipol Group in the European programme, led by Mind the Bridge Foundation, with the support of Nesta, Factory Berlin, the European Investment Fund/European Investment Bank Group, Cambridge University, IE Business School, and Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.

Eric Boustouller, President, Microsoft Western Europe, said, “A vibrant startup ecosystem is critical to securing Europe’s economic future and creating a digitally competitive continent. Through the Startup Europe Partnership, Microsoft will have the privilege to support some of the most innovative startups in Europe, helping these companies to overcome technical and funding barriers so they can accelerate growth. With today’s announcement, we are proud to be furthering a long history of supporting Europe’s youth and SMEs. But we’ve only scratched the surface of Europe’s potential. By working together across the public and private sectors we can create the business and policy climate that will truly allow European innovators and entrepreneurs to accelerate growth and reach their true potential.”

Microsoft contributes to the European economy through significant investments in innovation, businesses and people. Through an extensive “ecosystem” and European partner community of 180,000 businesses and 16,000 startups, Microsoft supports innovation and the creation of real jobs and helps the region face its societal challenges and become a little more competitive every day.

“If we look at the startup ecosystem, there’s still a huge gap between the United States and Europe“, said Alberto Onetti, Chairman of Mind the Bridge Foundation and Coordinator of Startup Europe Partnership. “The main difference is due to the number of startups that are able to scale-up and have an exit. Startup Europe Partnership is committed to support European startups to grow and turn into scaleups. Having a world leader as Microsoft on board will definitively be of great help.”

Digital Venice 2014

Digital Venice 2014, from July 7th to July 12th, brings together the Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, with policy makers, industry and innovation leaders to shape the future of a growing Digital Europe. Held in conjunction with the start of the Italian Presidency, the event underscores the critical importance the Italian government places on digital innovation toward creating sustainable economic development and quality employment.

On July 8th the opening event convenes five workshops focused on a number of crucial economic issues facing Europe, and aimed at providing valuable proposals to be taken in account for future EU policies on the Digital Agenda. The workshops are intended to elaborate on the high-level vision set by the Venice Declaration and to create a Working Document.

The outcome of Digital Venice 2014, represented by the Venice Declaration and the Working Document, will be tabled at the November Digital Council. Chaired by Alberto Onetti, Workshop #3 Start Up Europe! is aimed at analysing different options to support the growth and sustainability of European startups, and to plan actions that can help scaleups to compete and raise funds at the international and global level.

Ten prominent speakers representing the different components of the startup ecosystem (startups, corporates, venture capital, business angels, European Commission, research and universities, tech blogs) contributed to the discussion. Following the talks 50 participants selected among the most notable influencers from all over Europe were divided into four discussion groups. Each group’s topic was chosen based on twitter interactions with the 50 people attending the workshop and the rest of the world. (Hashtags: #DigitalVenice #DVWS3).