Dear Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Early Stage, Investment Community
September 15th, 2014.
Dear Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Early Stage, Investment Community,
It is with great joy that I write this first EBAN Flash Message as EBAN President.
Over the summer, the Members of the Board of EBAN (15 strong from 15 different European countries together with yet 2 Reserve members again from two different EU countries), EBAN President Emeritus Council, Anthony Clarke, Brigitte Baumann, and Paulo Andrez and our new colleagues in the Middle East and Africa have worked together with our membership and stakeholders to at once define priorities which we believe the entire innovation and entrepreneurship eco-system can identify with and to then implement an action plan to realize our goal of creating one of the most vibrant, dynamic, impactful and integral eco-systems in the world for value and job creation and or long-term sustainability in all its meanings.
We have also reached out to our colleagues across the whole venture financing eco-system. i.e., EVCA, ECN, EIF, European Commission, Stock Exchanges and Bankers as well as think-tanks such as the OECD and the Lisbon Council such to make certain and harmonise our messages and coordinate our actions.
Going forward, the EBAN Board has identified the following Five Point Plan where we believe we can bring about real progress:
1. Create and Celebrate European Success Stories: Europe has amazing success stories that they can be so proud of and they must promote and celebrate these as European Success Stories. No one in America says that a particular start-up came from Arizona, or New York, or Boston. They say it is an American Success Story. We need to do the same with Europe and in the future with the EMEA. EBAN wants to celebrate these European Success stories and help create new ones, by urging all private investors, be they seasoned private investors such as our business angel community or inspiring and educating new private individual investors to invest behind in promising European start-ups and scale-ups which are born European or EMEA and are targeting global markets.
2. Create an “E-Zone” or EU 29th country for Entrepreneurs, Innovation and Early Stage Investment:Europe must have a single market for entrepreneurs, innovation, and early-stage investment. It is as simple as that. There needs to be one set of rules, one set of incentives, one “free-zone” which is blind to national considerations and incentivises entrepreneurs and investors to start companies and invest everywhere in Europe. Best practices are evident in many companies in Europe, they are just not evident everywhere in Europe.
The EBAN has written the Start-Up Investors Manifesto, which together with the Start-up Manifesto from our member and reserve EBAN Board Colleague Dimitris Tsigos of the Young Entrepreneurs Summit (YES) provides clear guidelines for the uniform adoption of these best practices. All of these documents point toward the urgent need not only for a harmonisation of rules and incentives across Europe but for a real market unhampered by bureaucracy where entrepreneurs and can tap a consolidated market and investors feel at ease investing “cross-border” in what should really be a borderless and barrier-less market. Our colleagues at the EVCA have issued a white paper on the need for this type of single-market investing and our colleagues at the Lisbon Council published their landmark Innovation paper last year focusing on this need. We have all pledged to work together to make this reality, working together with the new Juncker led European Commission and the private sector.
3. Inspire and enable Corporations in Europe to reach out and buy more services and products from Europe’s start-ups and scale-ups. EBAN has also identified the need for corporations to be more actively involved in the Innovation and Entrepreneurial Scene. In the United States, corporations have a tradition of not only buying services and products from start-ups and scale-ups but also of buying them. In Europe, many times corporations shy away from such relations because they are afraid they will disappear due to lack of financial stability and working capital! This “Chicken-Egg” situation has to change and over the next weeks EBAN will be unveiling programs to help corporations tap into the innovation and “can do/will do” mentality of Europe’s entrepreneurs.
4. Professionalize Investment and Entrepreneurial Activity: EBAN is also working to help European entrepreneurs and European investors sharpen their game. Creating Success Stories; accessing a European/Global Single Market and investment; working with Corporations demands discipline and rigour in all aspects of innovation, entrepreneurship, and doing business. Entrepreneurs need to understand that they need to deliver and investors need to demand perfection and professionalism. The free market is competitive and only the best will survive and succeed. Amateurism, open-ended subsidies instead of incentives, parochial thinking have no place in a Europe, led by the private sector focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship working with the public sector.
5. Gather Original Source Data and Perform Research to inform Public Sector Policies: The EBAN Board and Members feel strongly that Data and Research are a pillar to help the Public Sector set policy which will facilitate the Europe of Innovation and Entrepreneurship we are all aspiring to. This last June EBAN published its landmark research on The Economic Impact of Angel Investment. We will be continuing this research going forward and reaching out to the world’s best think tanks, research institutes, and universities to partner with.
EBAN partnering to help incubate Middle East/North Africa BAN (MBAN) and creating a 1 Billion population market for EMENA Start-Ups and Early-Stage Investors:
This last 15 August, EBAN worked with partners in the early stage investment community throughout the Middle East and North Africa to help launch MBAN, the network for business angels and early stage investment players in the Middle East and North Africa. We will communicate about this initiative in a special dedicated issue of EBAN Flash in the coming weeks. Already, the excitement of this initiative is catching hold across the MENA region and EBAN and its members are proud to partner with the new MBAN organisation. As a result, we have also been asked to explore the creation of ABAN in Africa and are studying this opportunity for a later stage.
Schedule: In closing, and in addition to the schedule included on the EBAN Flash, I would like to highlight the EBAN events coming up which we believe will further underpin the realisation of our goals and the Five Point Plan described above:
17-18 November: EBAN Helsinki/SLUSH: EBAN’s Finnish and Estonian members, FIBAN and SBAN are putting together EBAN’s traditional Winter University which will be anything but traditional as it will be paired with SLUSH, one of the continent’s main innovation and investment happenings. The Presidents of Finland and Estonia have already signalled their presence and this will be a one in a lifetime experience for all entrepreneurs, business angels, and investors.
17-23 November: EMEA Business Angels Week and Global Business Angel Day: EBAN together with its MBAN partners and friends from Africa will be kicking off the second edition of the successful Business Angels Week at EBAN Helsinki/Slush. A highlight of the EMEA Business Angels Week will be the celebration of the Global Business Angels Day in cooperation with the Global Entrepreneurship Week on 20 November.
15-16 December: European Business Angels Investment Forum with Istanbul Borsa: The Istanbul Borsa is sponsoring together with EBAN, the Turkish Business Angels Association and Forbes the first-ever International Stock Exchange – Business Angels Investment Forum.
We look forward to welcoming you to all of these events and to pushing the agenda on the five-point plan above to make Europe and the Middle East and Africa the destination point for entrepreneurs and early-stage market players around the world.
With best wishes,
President of EBAN
Sophia Business Angels, FRANCE
FiBAN's news about startup investing.