The Startup Investors Manifesto has been published and is open for your support.
Do you believe in an European startup scene in which entrepreneurs can access the equity investment they need? Well, so do we at the European Crowdfunding Network and our friends at the European Business Angel Network as well as many early stage investors do across Europe.
Startup investors from across Europe contributed to the Startup Investors Manifesto towards an effective single market for early stage investment. This can sound challenging and it is indeed but is certainly not a dream. There are many policies and actions which can be implemented at European, national and regional level which can contribute to drive investment upwards. Investors themselves have a major role to play too – in the end it’s all about their money anyway!
What’s it about? Many things need to be done and you can find concrete actions throughout the document such as cutting taxes paid by early startups, facilitate the access to European “alternative” stock exchange markets or to replicate co-investment models to countries where they still don’t exist.
According to Eurostat’s most recent data, GDP in the EU28 rose only 0,1% in 2013 after a long period of GDP instability since 2008. Although the current forecast anticipates growth of up to 2% by 2015, employment remains a challenge with growth levels below 1% and heavily burdening younger generations.
These figures are in contrast with Europe’s entrepreneurial & innovation throb which reflects a community of young entrepreneurs looking for opportunities to strive. Many of their initiatives have been deterred by limited access to finance and it is now time to overcome many of the obstacles which are preventing these startups to take off and grow.
According to a 2011 report from Ernst&Young, 2/3 of new jobs come from only 10% of the companies. These moderate and high growth companies are usually capital intensive and the ones in which typically startup investors invest in.
There is a new wind blowing in Europe and entrepreneurship is on the rise. All over Europe, from Dublin to Nicosia and from Lisbon to Helsinki, a young entrepreneurial generation sees opportunities and launches new ideas and ventures. The investment community is well aware of this and has been supporting emerging startups in the form of capital and skills. Many more need to become funded though and that is why the European early stage investment community stands firm to:
Increase a 7 billion euros early stage investment market today to a 15 billion one by 2017.
This manifesto is subscribed by startup investors from all EU28 & accession countries and represents a statement in support of policies and actions towards this objective.
We are bullish about the dynamism of entrepreneurial Europe and we are confident that many new ventures will succeed and turn into global leaders. I commit to invest and provide startups with the oxygen they need to thrive. My funds will directly create new jobs and support the growth of innovation driven companies and will indirectly bring Europe’s economy to new levels of growth
Despite the opportunities in areas ranging from ICT, mobile applications, health, energy or creative industries amongst many others, there are obstacles preventing further investment right now and steps that were not yet taken to increase the investment capacity of the early stage investment community.
If we don’t take action today to leverage on the existing opportunities to get Europe on a path of sustainable growth, cut unemployment and get rid of the burden of debt, we risk to see many of our successful startups and serial entrepreneurs to leave and turn their back on Europe. Our millions of young unemployed will become our millions of old unemployed. This specter is unacceptable.
This is why investors have decided to stand up to call for a joint effort. We have identified the following 5 areas in which we should produce change to unleash the power of the European early stage business community:
- Inspiring a co-investment culture amongst different market stakeholders
- Taxes as drivers for innovation and re-allocation of funds
- Increasing market liquidity to avoid equity gaps
- Raising awareness and changing mindsets towards a favorable risk culture
- Making investment easier and clearer for both businesses and investors
These actions and policies commit investors and engage policy makers at European, national and regional level to take responsibility on the changes that need to be implemented. They involve both the private and the public sector on a common strategy to increase funds available for startups and to create the Single Market for early stage investors.
The supporting investors of this manifesto, call for the attention of Heads of State from all EU28 & accession countries, for the commitment of the Members of the European Parliament, for the active involvement of the coming European Commission and for the economic responsibility of corporate investors which can, all together, supported by a motivated early stage investment community, draw up new perspectives for aspiring entrepreneurs and game changing startups.