LeWeb: Governments and Startups

How european Governments support startup ecosystems
Moderated by: Sherry Coutu, Former CEO & Angel Investor. Nicolas Princen, Advisor for New Media and Information Technology, Office of President Nicolas Sarkozy. Eric Van der Kleij, CEO, Tech City Investment Organisation

One of the challenges is what can the gov actually do, can’t they just get out of the way? So what do they to help entrepreneurs grow?

NP,the last study he has shows the internet economy is 6%, but whole digital bit is 80%. France is focusing on innovation and bringing down the barriers. So changes to tax regime, for startups, no tax for 6 years. They have huge tax cuts for innovation, if you pay 2 engineers, you get a third ‘for free’. They have also invested, in infrastructure, in services, to push production and consumption. They have tried to unleash potential of talent, by freeing up universities, to teach how they want, to deal with companies,. THere is a whole new conception on what gov has to do for innovation. Gov needs to be seen as part of the ecosystem, not above it. They need to facilitate and catalyse. Work with ecosystem, rather than at. In France, the ecosystem has been growing. France has released a lot of data, for people to work on, 300k data sets

From EK, he shares similar goals to NP. Look at the OpenData, just launched the OpenData institute. They think that by opening up the data and inviting devs to give them ideas, they can unlock new growth. By collaboration, by co-opetition, making markets open to all, they can stimulate growth. The Tech City initiative was announced, to amplify what was happening. Gov was looking about how it could get out the way and to stimulate it. The gov put in the entrepreneurs visa, to come to UK to set up business; the lifetime capital gains relief – that’s 10% tax on first 10m made on selling, plus R&D tax credit, plus early stage investors tax breaks up to 50%

Looking at EU, there needs to be about the same number of startups as SV, but about half the number of scale-ups. So how do we grow? SO how are govs helping those? NP thinks we need to focus on investments, there’s gov money now to help that. France has been trying to attract larger companies to grow the ecosystem. Also, it is about culture and mindset. THere’s a change, people wanting to grow global, was not ness where it was a few years ago. With new platforms, there are more opps for companies to be global. For UK, agreement, getting in some of the bigger companies in is key. THere is a risk that they will own all the engineers, but they also recognise that they need to add value. Google has taken out a building in London and are building out what they should do with it with the Tech City team. London knows startups are great, but scaleups are very important, so London want to ask opinion on the Global Entrepreneurs Network. THey will find the people from the different areas and put them together…entrepreneurs collaborate, to establish networks to support each other. NP thinks this is a good idea, building stronger links and ties. It’s all about connection, the power is in the networks and govs understand that.
So a call out for any ideas?

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