An EU-wide scheme designed to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in Europe has helped create 75,000 new jobs in the past three years, it has been revealed.
The initiative, launched in 1984 by the European Commission, has also leveraged more than €1.96 billion in funding for about 80,000 innovative small businesses across Europe.
The “success story” of the European Business and Innovation Network (EBN), which oversees a network of business and innovation centres, known as EU/BICs, was hailed at a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday.
A report issued by the Brussels-based EBN also said that, after completing the EU/BIC support programmes, the survival rate of companies stood at an “quite astonishing” 87 per cent.
This compares with other figures that show that, overall, 50 per cent of start-ups collapse within the first three years.
Speaking at the event at Brussels press club, Michael Maddock, CEO of BIC South East Ireland and vice president of EBN, said the idea was to give those thinking of starting innovative news businesses a “leg up.”
He said, “The fact that the failure rate is so low shows that we are doing something right.”
He cited an example being two business partners who, a few years after they launched a new enterprise with EBN support, sold the business last year for some $150m.
“We cannot do everything but we have helped a whole range of businesses to get started, from ICT and agri to pharmaceutical.”
“The professional support that EU|BICs are providing to the courageous entrepreneurs knocking at their doors demonstrate this model is highly effective at scaling-up Europe’s innovative small businesses” Javier Echarri, CEO of EBN
His comments were echoed by Nicola-Elizabeth Morris, of the commission’s internal market directorate, who said, “The commission launched this initiative but, while we are no longer directly involved, we still provide some support.”
The ‘EU|BIC Impact Report 2017’ released on Tuesday highlights trends of the last three years.
The report “shows the added value” EU|BICs create in the European economy and in their “regional ecosystems,” it was said.
Supporting more than 80,000 clients, and facilitating the creation of more than 12,400 start-ups the EU|BICs helped to generate over 75,000 jobs and leveraged more than €1.96bn in funding for innovative small businesses over the three-year period.
The report says the figures demonstrate the role the business centres have made in helping European economies grow.
The report adds: “The results also show that EU|BICs have fulfilled their inherent public mission by fostering entrepreneurship and innovation values at the local and regional level. Over the three years, the 150 quality-certified business and innovation centres hosted 11,622 promotional events to stimulate innovative entrepreneurship engaging a total number of 619,650 participants from Europe and overseas.”
Commenting on the findings, Javier Echarri, CEO of EBN, told the news conference that the survival rate of companies the scheme has helped was “quite astonishing.”
“The EU|BICs have been working to enhance and promote entrepreneurs since the 1980’s. We have collectively embraced a culture of permanent evolution to be better aligned to the market and more international, and consequently cater to the ever changing conditions that the entrepreneurs face” Patrick Valverde, chairman of EBN,
He added, “The professional support that EU|BICs are providing to the courageous entrepreneurs knocking at their doors demonstrate this model is highly effective at scaling-up Europe’s innovative small businesses.”
With 150 certified business and innovation centres, during the reported period, providing business support to more than 33,000 startups, almost 47,000 SMEs and over 1,500 large companies, the EBN network has positioned itself as a key player within the European innovation ecosystem.
Echarri said that EBN “continuously” invites European and regional authorities to adopt the EU|BIC model in deploying more efficient business support schemes that deliver sustainable jobs and growth through innovation, a position that has been clearly backed by the European Court of Auditors.
Further comment came from Patrick Valverde, chairman of EBN, who said: “The EU|BICs have been working to enhance and promote entrepreneurs since the 1980’s. We have collectively embraced a culture of permanent evolution to be better aligned to the market and more international, and consequently cater to the ever changing conditions that the entrepreneurs face.”