Headlines 2018

How to multiply the number of European entrepreneurs


Magnus Henrekson presented and moderated a panel discussion in Brussels on "Institutional Reforms for an Entrepreneurial Society - a Policy Perspective".

Seven steps suggest researchers in the interdisciplinary project Financial and Institutional Reforms for the Entrepreneurial Society (Fires), which includes IFN, in order for more to dare to become entrepreneurs and thereby boost growth in Europe. The researchers in Fires presented on Thursday, for the European Commission, its research findings and a toolbox for politicians who want to promote entrepreneurship. On Friday May 25, there was a closing public conference in Brussels where researchers, organizations and entrepreneurs participated.


Mark Sanders.jpgMark Sander, has been research leader of Project Fires. He is an associate professor at the Utrecht University School of Economics.


The Fires researchers have worked out an index (The Regional Entrepreneurship and Development Index, Redi) to determine where on the entrepreneurial scale a country or region is positioned. Repeatedly it was pointed out that the differences between different parts of Europe, for example institutions that facilitate entrepreneurship, entails different prescriptions for different parts of Europe to promote entrepreneurship.

Magnus Henrekson, IFN,was in charge of one of Friday's two panel discussions. The title was "Institutional Reforms for an Entrepreneurial Society - a policy perspective".

"Those who want to improve the business environment can not only deal with corporate tax. Entrepreneurs and their incentives must be identified. And it's not enough to take into account the entrepreneurs. You must also reckon with the future employees, financiers and others. This is a complex and a politically difficult issue, said Magnus Henrekson, and was supported by, among others, Stefan Raes, Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU, who called the question of how to promote entrepreneurship "a nightmare for politicians." He expressed hopes that the researchers will be able to help clarify and illuminate the complexity to politicians.

Magnus Henrekson gave more examples of reforms that would benefit entrepreneurship For example that pension funds can be used for financing of entrepreneurship companies and that social rights should follow the individual and not be linked to a particular company (flexucurity).


Panel.jpgThe panel from the left: Magnus Henrekson, IFN, Bert Kuby, Committee of the Regions, Stephan Raes, Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU, Ulla Engelmann, EU Commission, and Jonathan Potter, OECD.


Bert Kuby, European Committee of the Regions (CoR), which is an advisory body to the EU, gave the Fires Project and Redi Index a good rating.
"It's great that research points out that everyone does not fit into one and the same template", he stated.

He pointed out that it is important for growth not only to study start-ups but also the a bit older ones that can and want to grow. aLSO Jonathan Potter, OECD, who noted that "Fires is an excellent project", explained that research should be about more than young new companies. He suggested that the researchers work on and receive feedback on their proposals from the regions in the EU.

Ulla Engelmann, Head of the EU Commission's DG Grow, Unit for Clusters and Entrepreneurship, said that in the decision-making processes the Commission often has too much, not too little information. She pointed out that researchers need to be better at reaching politicians with their research results.

- It is important that the research is used after it has been presented. Within Fires, I think it's particularly interesting to look at the story behind and the roots that countries and regions are more or less entrepreneurial.

Ulla Engelmann explained that in Europe less than 30 percent of all entrepreneurs are women:

- We try to understand why and study, among other things, women's access to capital. And we support a network of business angels that contribute to female entrepreneurs.



Maarit Nyman, European Commission, Head of unit, DG Grow, COSME program, SME Envoy network and EASME.


How can Fire's proposals be linked to the work of the EU Commission?

About this, Maarit Nyman, Head of unit, DG Grow, spoke at the end of the conference. She is primarily working with SMEs. Nyman held a speech telling the audience about the EU-program Cosme (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises). It is the aim of Cosme to improve access to capital, support SMEs' internationalization and access to markets, promote competition and a business-friendly climate.

- Cosme, for example, works with the European Investment Fund and with networks that explain to entrepreneurs what different EU legislation mean to them.

Several of the speakers at the conference asked for a continuation of Project Fires. Decisions have been taken on several spin-offs, mainly reports.

The project has consisted of nine research institutions in as many countries.

Read about the conference om Fires website

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