Why Europe should go beyond startups

By Alberto Onetti, Chairman Mind the Bridge

Note: startups are extremely important. They definitively contributed to pour new ideas and energy into the European entrepreneurial scene.

Although most people in Europe confuse entrepreneurship and startups.

There are plenty of innovative and solid businesses in Europe that don’t get lured in by the “startup halo”. These companies are typically referred to as SMEs (small and medium enterprises). They get limited visibility, though. For them no dedicated events, conferences, competitions, government schemes, accelerators nor incubators provided (no free pizza & beer either).

This limited attention occurs despite the fact that these companies are extremely innovative and – extended bonus – produce revenue and employment.

Look at eVision, a Dutch SME active in predictive vision software that generates 250M in revenue and hundreds of jobs (183 only in the last year). Or the Swedish life science company Immunovia that just got listed on Nasdaq First North. Or even the French Platform.sh that was selected to represent Europe in the last year SEC2SV delegation and just announced two large deals with Orange France and Magento.

These are just a few examples of the almost three thousand European companies that have been funded in the last two years by the European “SME Instrument”. Among them, there are many off-radar innovative cool companies.

Definitions matter. But we need to go beyond definitions and start focusing on the only thing that makes the difference: companies able to produce revenue and employment. No matter if they are startups or SMEs.

Cause at the end, as Winerist founders Tatiana Livesey and Diana Isac said: “Startup is just a glorified word for a SME”.

We need them both, startups and SMEs. And we need to have them growing, possibly in Europe.