European Commission Introduces the Start-up Nations Standard of Excellence

Start-ups and scaleups success is currently more crucial than ever. As Europe emerges from a difficult period, the economy and society’s recovery are essential. Start-ups play a role in this process, as they have the capacity to develop breakthrough innovations in response to real-world needs. Despite this capacity, start-ups seem to be part of the most affected groups during this pandemic, having an increased difficulty in securing funding. In response to this, the European Commission has announced the creation of the Start-up Nations Standard of Excellence: an initiative aimed at pushing European countries to support start-ups in each stage of their development.

By signing the standard, member states agree to a series of actions to ensure that all start-ups and scaleups in EU countries benefit from the best practices underpinning Europe’s and the world’s most successful start-up ecosystems. Actions suggested to member states focus on the following:

  • making it easier to start-up and expand across borders by fast-tracking the start-up creation process.
  • streamline visa and residency applications for third country talent and incentivise the return of EU tech-talent.
  • make granting of employee stock options more attractive by ensuring employee share options are not subject to capital gains tax until they are cashed in.
  • promote venture-building and tech transfer from universities.
  • increase access to finance.

The initiative received the support of 24 member states at the Digital Day 2021 event.

EBAN is delighted to hear this, as SNS will help push forward our main goal: getting start-ups to scale-up. ” I think the EU’s SNS (StartUp Nations Standard) is a great initiative and am pleased that nearly all of the EU member countries have already signed up” says Jesper Jarlbæk, EBAN Treasurer and DanBAN Chairman. The key thing now is to translate words into action in all EU member countries. I am convinced that EBAN, with its extensive coverage and reach across Europe can be a valuable contributor to this effort. This can be done by identifying and promoting best practices and then encouraging all the countries to follow suit.” Janne Jormalainen, EBAN President and FiBAN President Emeritus, shares this excitement. “Start-ups needs are different from established companies. Access to talent as well as maintaining talent are the key success factors of start-ups and the SNS initiative facilitates just that.” he says. “The acceleration of visa processing and allowance of stock option issuance are especially welcome”. Through this initiative, the European Commission is pushing Europe at the front of the global tech race.

Prof. Panayiotis H. KETIKIDIS, Hellenic Business Angels Network – Founder of HeBAN & EBAN Board Executive Committee Member, wraps it up perfectly: “Even before the outbreak of Covid-19, Europe had decided to strongly commit herself to an innovative, green, and digital economy. The current pandemic accelerated the determination of many national governments to fully acknowledge the important part that start-ups and scale-ups are able to play in this development and spurred the implementation of necessary measures. This insight and the willingness to act in a concerted European context on initiatives, such as the EU SNS, the InvestEU as well as the EIC, now enable Business Angels across Europe to seize the offered opportunities in a much more effective way. As Hippocrates already suggested in ancient times: “Time is that wherein there is opportunity, and opportunity is that wherein there is no great time”.