EU/Presidency: Portugal to host permanent European entrepreneurship structure

According to the secretary of state for digital transition, the creation of a European structure for the entrepreneurship area is “the most striking aspect” of the 2021 edition of the Digital Day, a European Commission initiative that takes place today in a virtual format, organized in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition under the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

Speaking to Lusa, André de Aragão Azevedo said that the structure in question “was proposed by Portugal and will be established on the initiative of the Portuguese government, with the support of the European Commission”, to start “a new cycle of the entrepreneurship agenda assumed by the 27 Member States and coordinated from Lisbon”.

The creation of this structure is related to the Declaration on EU Standards for ‘Startup’ Nations, which will be signed by the member states during the event and which defines “the set of requirements and standards for a nation or a member state to qualify as a ‘startup nation'”, said the official.

In the words of the secretary of state, the goal is to create “an articulation between [public] policies and a harmonization between national agendas”, designing “guidelines so that each country knows what it must do to be able to be in the lead, to have a level of maturity in terms of adequate entrepreneurship ecosystem”.

As “Europe, as a whole, was not as competitive as other geographies” and “within the EU there was a great fragmentation of approaches and some disparity in terms of the level of maturity of the entrepreneurship ecosystems of each country”, the structure, in practice, “will monitor the fulfilment of these parameters”, through the “management of the European entrepreneurship ecosystem itself”, he justified.

This ecosystem will have, therefore, “a dimension of support to the creation of more startups, to the growth of these startups, of attraction of talent, of internationalization”, so that the EU may compete “more effectively with the main competitors in international terms”, namely with the United States, Israel and Singapore, assured André de Aragão Azevedo.

Although the amounts of funding have not yet been finalised, as a “formal decision” from the European Commission is still pending, the beneficiaries of this “collective commitment”, as the governor called it, will be “startups, incubators and investors”.

Also, during the Digital Day, member states will sign the Declaration on European Strategy for Data Entry Platforms and the Declaration on Digital and Green Transition of the European Union, which, according to the secretary of state, align the “common positions” of the 27 Member States to “enhance the component of networks and data” and “trim the digital green agenda”.

There is also a fourth declaration – the European Digital Green Alliance -, corresponding to the ministerial declaration on the digital and green transition, which will be signed between CEOs of companies in the information and communication technology sector.

“We are already the country of the Web Summit, but we want to go beyond that. We want to have other types of projects that position us as a country that is perceived internationally as a ‘startup nation’, that invests heavily in this ecosystem because we believe that this ecosystem has a key role, not only in terms of cyclical response to the crisis we are experiencing, but also in terms of structural change of the economic model to a model based more on innovation, on technology and, therefore, that is likely to incorporate more value,” he concluded.