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The differences between American and European high-impact startup culture — with very different results — are always of great interest to me. I love these Wall Street Journal graphics comparing the EU vs. US:
Here is an interesting bit of self analysis from a Croatian member of the European Parliament. It starts with an anecdote about an entrepreneur frustrated by the slow funding process from an EU investment committee:
It was interesting to hear the question asked by a young innovator who cannot understand why the project approval process lasts so long. It took almost two years from the moment he came up with his idea until the moment when funds for realization of the project were approved from Horizon 2020. The Commission, of course, has the answer ready – European citizens’ money is concerned and before the funds are approved the project must go through the evaluation and approval process, and that takes time, but no more than 90 days. 90 days for each step and so until the idea begins to realize in Europe, somewhere on the other side of the world (in the Silicon Valley, for example) someone has already started production although he came up with the idea only a few months before.
When we look at the example of the Silicon Valley we ask ourselves: Why is everyone there? What makes it a special ecosystem which attracts innovations and start-ups? The answers are to be found in the following: 1. People – talents who want to succeed in technology; 2. Knowledge: the best universities: Stanford, Berkeley, UCSF; 3. State institutions encouraging innovation: NASA, DARPA, National Institute of Health; 4. Corporate innovation centres; 5. Availability of venture capital; 6. Open access to the broad market (USA); 7. Competition and intensive cooperation through knowledge and ideas; 8. Self-confidence (somewhat arrogant) – the attitude that there is no problem which a small group of smart people cannot solve; 9. Intellectual curiosity; and 10. The wish to share ideas in order to come up with new ones.
This is then followed by some hugger-mugger about how Europe needs to find its own path via lots of “contentedness” and “investment.” Not much about removing barriers, or cultural differences — all things mentioned by many other, non-governmental observers.