The University of Cambridge is one of the founding members of the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), the first pan-European open platform dedicated to helping start-ups to progress to maturity.
ideaSpace, which supports people in Cambridge starting high-impact new ventures, is the University’s representative for the project. It will play a guiding role as a member of the steering committee as well as supporting five start-ups through the initiative.
The work programme will be promoted by the European Commission. Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President responsible for Digital Agenda, said: “Europe needs thriving start-ups and global internet companies to become a global growth centre again.
“Politicians don’t create jobs, entrepreneurs do. We’re going to support that mindset and push European start-ups beyond their comfort zone.”
The SEP programme will be based on three main elements:
- Matching: a series of same-format international events in start-up hubs across Europe will create a marketplace where selected start-ups and corporations meet to enhance investment from corporates and pave the way for potential acquisitions.
- Mapping: a ‘map’ of the hottest European start-ups and hubs will provide international visibility for emerging companies and celebrate the successes of start-ups and spin-outs that are able to scale up.
- Sharing: bringing together best practice on entrepreneurship and corporate venture/start-up support from leading European and international companies, such as those from Silicon Valley, will help reduce cultural divides and encourage ‘start-up cross-fertilization’.
ideaSpace and the University became involved in the initiative as a result of a visit to Cambridge by the EC policy official who is leading it in Brussels, Isidro Laso Ballesteros, as one of the Centre of Science and Policy’s Policy Fellows.
Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: “The University of Cambridge has been extremely successful in supporting spin-outs, and last year invested a record £2.3 million in seed funds to support such enterprises.
“This has helped build Europe’s most successful technology cluster, with 14 companies valued at more than $1 billion. That is why we welcome this initiative, which is key to the future economic growth of Europe.”
SEP’s other founding partners are Telefonica, Orange, BBVA, European Investment Fund (part of the European Investment Bank Group), IE Business School, the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, and Mind the Bridge, a non-profit organisation that supports a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem.