TechnologyThe EU is finalizing a study to standardize how to measure the startup ecosystem: "Lack of clarity can lead to errors in policies"

The EU is finalizing a study to standardize how to measure the startup ecosystem: “Lack of clarity can lead to errors in policies”

The European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, the Bulgarian Maria Gabriel, is aware that the “lack of clarity and information” can lead to “misunderstandings and errors when configuring policies and monitoring the progress of startups and scaleups.” This has been recognized in an interview with Business Insider Spain.

It is for this reason that the European Commission is finalizing a report that it will present before the end of the first quarter of 2023 and that it will explore “the definitions [de startup] existing data used at national and international level” and will identify “indicators that can capture the main elements of the European Union ecosystem in a comprehensive inventory”.

That report will be followed a pilot study that “it will establish a set of indicators on startups, scaleups and innovation and high technology”, so that these new metrics, already standardized, “can be help analyze and model ecosystem policies of innovation”.

Precisely, the startup law, in force since the beginning of the year, is the first national regulatory text to launch a proposed definition of “emerging company.” Among its requirements: a maximum age of 5 or 7 years, not having arisen from a merger, not having distributed dividends, not being listed on the stock market, and having an innovative character.

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The studies that Commissioner Gabriel is advancing are a new attempt by Brussels to help standardize the market, measure its evolution and support technological and business innovation. The Secretary of State for Digitization, Carme Artigas, already raised this need in mid 2021.

“Must agree on how we measure the value we create with innovationhow we measure talent in our country, how we measure innovation itself, the digitization process or how we measure data”. “We are measuring 21st century companies with 19th century balance sheets”, he stated then.

Mariya Gabriel picks up the gauntlet and assumes that there is a “growing need to improve the collection and analysis of data related to startups, scaleups and their ecosystems”. “The use of diverse data and definitions and different methodologies often has made it incapable of offering a clear picture of the European panorama of startups”.

“The adoption of common definitions would solve the comparability problem and offer good quality data to improve the preparation and monitoring of political measures,” he stresses. In this sense, these studies are part of the European Innovation Agenda that Brussels announced in the middle of last year and that seeks to create “that common data taxonomy.”

“It is time that European ecosystems complement each other instead of competing”

This Agenda, explains Mariya Gabriel, “represents an important step” since it will improve “access to financing for startups and scaleups”, it will favor the appearance of more sandbox regulations, and will “attract and retain talent.

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“With this new innovation toolbox, we can provide change agents in Europe – students, researchers and innovators – with the right environment to unleash their potential,” he envisions.

That is why it is essential to promote “a truly European ecosystem”. “It is high time that the various European ecosystems complement each other rather than compete with each other.” The connection and creation of this great ecosystem will favor “an attractive environment for companies in all their phases of growth”.

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In addition, that “truly European” ecosystem is a key ingredient for European talents to have “patient investments”, “ecosystems united to turn laboratory science into commercial and viable services and products” and, ultimately, “time,” which is what “both startups and high-tech need.”

The commissioner believes that the European Union faces a series of challenges “to achieve an innovation policy that is appropriate to its objectives.” One of them is “the persistent innovation gap between and within member states”, which “prevents” a “balanced and inclusive” recovery and that the economic and social convergence of the continent continue.

Erasmus adapt to inflation

Gabriel, also responsible for Youth at the European Commission, is the competent curator of such a Europeanizing program as the Erasmus+ scholarships, which allows students from member states to integrate into a university in another country of the European Union for a semester or a year.

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However, those scholarships do not cover all possible expenses to start a new life away from home. Less in times of inflation.

Although Spain is, along with Luxembourg, one of the countries in the euro area in which prices rise with less intensity —a milestone that has been repeated for the last 3 months—, prices continue to be out of control in countries like Latvia, where the rise exceeds 21 .6% or Estonia (18.8%). The data for January in Spain reflected a price increase of 5.8%.

It is for this reason that students “are affected by inflation”, as confirmed by the commissioner herself. “It tests your purchasing power. Just think of rising grocery prices, utility bills, or housing costs.”

Gabriel stresses that his department has closely followed the situation and has seen “how inflationary pressures may affect the quality of mobility projects funded by Erasmus+”.

Consequently, the “individual aid percentages” have been “adjusted” for the 2023 call for proposals under Erasmus+”. “The Commission will continue to monitor the situation and is in close contact with stakeholders and beneficiaries of the program to seek their input,” he promises.


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