The European internet economy - a manifesto for growth

How can Europe grow its internet-led economy?  The Startup Europe Leaders Club has made 22 recommendations in its new manifesto.The independent group of leading entrepreneurs has been asked to act as a steering group for European policies on tech-led business growth.  It has now summarised its 22 ideas into a manifesto structured into five themes:Education and skills

  • More 'digitally confident' teachers
  • Instilling children with a passion for entrepreneurship
  • Encourage students to start businesses before they graduate, when they are least risk-averse (this is much more common in the US - 20% of CalTech and Berkeley undergraduates have started their own business)
  • Large companies should offer training programmes to the general public
Access to talent26% of European employers have difficulty filling roles because of skills gaps and shortages.  The manifesto also describes what constitutes a 'brain drain' of entrepreneurs setting up businesses in Silicon Valley rather than Europe  The manifesto recommends:
  • Roll-out of a pan-European startup visa, making it easier for non-EU citizens to start a business and hire non-EU citizens
  • Europe must launch targeted campaigns to reverse the brain drain.
Data policy, privacy, protectionThe manifesto cites outdated and inconsistent data regulations across Europe.  It recommends:
  • A unified data protection law
  • Revising the 'antiquated' requirement that EU businesses must keep their servers in the same country
  • Opening up government data
  • Encouraging governments to 'think digital'
Thought leadership
  •  Appoint a Chief Digital Officer in every country of the EU
  • Create a best practices repository
  • Establish a Digital European Forum
The manifesto also considers improving access to capital and other ways to support entrepreneurs.You can read the manifesto - and sign it if you wish - here.UK - 750,000 digital workers needed by  2017Meanwhile, a study by Development Economics (on behalf of O2) reveals the demand for skilled staff in the digital economy.The report calls for improved collaboration between the private and public sectors and says that government support for digital skills development is vital in providing work opportunities and to stimulate small business.[Follow Val Skelton on Google+]