startup policy recommendations

Startup Communities give concrete policy recommendations to EU leaders

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At the Startup Europe Summit 2019, Allied for Startups worked with startup community leaders across Europe to draft 11 recommendations for the EU Commission, Parliament and Council to improve policy making for startups in 2019-2024. Allied for Startups and Startup Europe call for an intense dialogue between European startups and the policy makers that make decisions about them. As Lenard Koschwitz (Global Director at Allied for Startups) remarked, “in the last years we’ve seen legislation impacting startups that didn’t consider them enough in the decision-making process.

The recommendations are the results of consultations with startup communities across Europe, including founders of European scale-ups and leading investors. Startup Europe Summit participants exchanged on them at a side-event, during which entrepreneurs shared experiences and proved concrete examples that backed up the recommendations. Recommendation number 3 is particularly relevant for public procurement directives. It aims to adopt the Scale Up Europe manifesto targets for pre-commercial procurement and public procurement of innovative solutions. It calls to promote open, transparent and shorter-term contracts, which are advertised in good time, without prohibitive conditions or qualifying criteria. High hopes are also linked to recommendation number 6 which can open the doors to a European Startup Visa.

For more information about the other recommendations check here.

Artificial Intelligence

European Space Agency: Artificial Intelligence Kick-start Call for 2019

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The European Space Agency (ESA) Business Applications has announced the Artificial Intelligence Kick-start Call for 2019. The Thematic Calls for Kick-start Activities are designed to be particularly interesting for SMEs and start-ups looking for opportunities to develop their ideas for new business applications. With this Call dedicated to the theme “Artificial Intelligence”, ESA is offering technical support and zero-equity funding (up to 60.000 € per Activity) to companies developing innovative and commercial products and services combining AI with space technology. Kick-start Activities should elaborate on the business opportunity and technical viability of new applications and services exploiting one or more space assets (e.g. Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Space Weather).

The AI Kick-start is organized around specific macro-areas for which dedicated calls will be issued: Consumer goods, business and industrial services, Social impact, Infrastructure and Environment and natural resources. Additionally, ESA will organize webinars in regard to each macro-area with the first one on Consumer goods, business and industrial services being held on the 30 April 2019, 11:00 CEST.

The funded participation is open to any public organization, commercial client worldwide or space company (be it as a group of users, public body or non-governmental organization) residing in any of the ESA Member States that are participating to the programme. To date, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have subscribed.

ESA Business Applications is committed to using the technologies of space to transform the businesses with the vision to improve the lives of people on Earth through Space. ESA Business Applications makes this possible by enabling and supporting businesses in the short-term commercialization and application of Space data and technology for everyday services.

For more detailed information on the relevant topics, eligibility criteria and registration, check here.

Register for the webinar (30 April, 11:00 CEST) here.


CERIecon goes Brussels! workshop

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Regional initiatives challenging the state of entrepreneurship and encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit among young people with innovative ideas have been emerging to provide the best possible regional support to young startups and SMEs. One of those initiatives is the CERIecon, a three-year project funded under the INTERREG Central Europe programme. The main focus of the project is to provide adequate education and training to young entrepreneurs to improve their skills and competencies, giving them a boost to start their own businesses.

On the 11 March 2019, SERN participated as one of the panelists in the CERIecon’s workshop on European startup activities “CERIecon goes Brussels!” which took place at the Representation of the State of Baden-Württemberg to the European Union in Brussels. The participants discussed the European Startup activities as well as opportunities for young startups and SMEs to continue to grow.

About the project

Following the workshop, we talked with Mrs Cornelia Steiner from the Board of Education for Vienna, the Lead Partner of the CERIecon project. “When we started developing the CERIecon project idea, we had a clear vision: By mid-2019, the CERIecon project should have changed the way young European entrepreneurs are inspired, trained and supported. Why did we think that this was important? We noticed that daring young entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas could contribute considerably to make the cities and regions in Central Europe better places to work and live. But factors such as a lack of an entrepreneurial culture and mindset leading to a limited interest in entrepreneurship were hampering their efforts. We also realised that there was inadequate training to improve their skills and entrepreneurial competencies. And yet, entrepreneurs must be empowered to create change; they “form the majority of business entities and are the biggest employers” in Central Europe. It is important to provide, at the regional level, the right mix of financial and non-financial support to assist entrepreneurs to create new firms.” she says. “The CERIecon project wanted to change the current situation”.

Gathering 14 partners from 7 Central European regions, CERIecon put its focus on providing said support through the establishment of new-type comprehensive regional innovation ecosystems (Playparks) in each partner region, where young people with innovative thinking were paired with experienced trainers in developing their ideas and with Playparks working closely in a transnational network. “In order to ensure that many excellent innovative social and economic products/ideas will be brought to market, we also wanted to make sure that external target groups, such as policy stakeholders, SMEs and funding initiatives, are being involved,” Mrs Steiner tells us.

The results and plans for the future

When asked about the results of the project and how successful it was, Mrs Steiner explains: “Looking back now on what CERIecon has achieved so far, we are very satisfied. Not only did we manage to train over 1046 people so far (start-ups/young entrepreneurs/pupils/teachers) but we were also able to set up a certain ‘CERIecon methodology’ which will – hopefully – support other European regions to train young entrepreneurs.”

With the project coming to its end in mid-May this year, CERIecon organized this promotional event where it also showcased some of its successful Playpark stories and presented the plans for the future. Mrs Steiner went on to say: “The event was a great success, not only for CERIecon and the partners involved in the project but also for the young startups who were invited to present their business ideas.”

Regarding the future beyond the project, she continues: “The diverse regions have different approaches in order to ensure the sustainability of the CERIecon project. Apart from regional strategies, we would like to create a Playpark BRANDING which will allow us to spread the CERIecon ‘spirit’ as well as the achievements of the project in a more professional way. Our vision would be to see the idea of regional Playparks spread and to have many more Playparks in European regions – or also outside Europe!”

When asked about the one advice she would give to young entrepreneurs that have innovative ideas, she concludes with “I think that young entrepreneurs need to be open-minded and courageous. As it was said also during the event in Brussels: Sometimes you just need to pick up the phone and start calling!”

You can read more about the CERIecon project here.


Regions and cities acting on climate change Survey

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Since the Paris Agreement, EU has been committed to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. Energy transformation is a key element in fighting climate change and requires a fast and broad transition across all sectors to a sustainable, low-emission energy system. It is clear that Europe’s energy transition and the decarbonisation of the economy are one of top priorities on EU level. In regard to these priorities, Committee of Regions (CoR) is emphasizing the role of regions and cities and is stressing the importance of active involvement of local communities and all levels of governance in ensuring successful transition.

8th European Summit of Regions and Cities

On 14-15 March 2019, more than 500 European, national, regional and local leaders from all Member States gathered for the 8th European Summit of Regions and Cities to discuss the future of Europe and the role of regions and cities. One of the messages sent from Bucharest focused on the role of regions and cities in acting on climate change. As global CO2 emissions hit an all-time high in 2018, we are witnessing an increasing protests in local communities, with demands for world leaders to uphold their commitments from Paris. Following recent “Youth for Climate” movement and “Global Strike for Future”, EU regions and cities backed their demands with call on the EU for more ambition and investment to keep global warming well below 2˚C and commit to a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050.

Karl-Heinz Lambertz, president of the CoR pointed out how “EU has set targets and is increasing investment, but still it isn’t enough: we need to do more to enable regions and cities to make the transition, create green jobs, become energy efficient and cut more emissions.” Speakers at the Summit were united on this subject matter, highlighting once again the important role of cities and regions in tackling climate change issues and transition to the clean energy.

Call for Action

In response to these challenges, the CoR is currently working on two formal EU opinions to foster the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in Europe: 1) The socio-economic transformation of coal regions in Europe, 2) Implementation of the Paris Agreement through innovative and sustainable energy transition at regional and local level.

However, in order to achieve successful energy transformation, it is crucial that all levels of governance are on the same mission. Local and regional authorities have to be able to manage this change on their level, starting with best practices and active involvement of all citizens. To obtain the highest quality input and wide range of different opinions, the CoR calls for all citizens to contribute to these goals. You can do so by participating in an online survey which will be open until midnight on 15 April 2019.


INTED 2019

LEA PROJECT: Meet SERN in Valencia at INTED 2019!

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The 13th annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference, INTED 2019, will be held in Valencia (Spain) from 11-13 March 2019. INTED is one of the largest international education conferences for lecturers, researchers, technologists and professionals from the educational sector. More than 700 experts from 80 countries will present their projects and share their knowledge on teaching and learning methodologies and innovations on educational technology.

LEA (Learning Technology Accelerator) will participate in the conference, hosting a special oral session “Innovation Procurement to steer user-driven Innovations for Digital Learning”. The session will take place on Monday, 11 March, and will be moderated by Eurico Neves (co-founder of SERN). It will explore several topics about public procurement in learning technology, each one presented by LEA projects partners:

  • understanding innovation procurement and tools for steering market towards innovative solutions for education within EU legal framework (PPI and PCP),
  • results from different approaches and experiences of different procurement partners,
  • needs analysis for ICT in teaching and learning based on extensive surveys,
  • procurement of innovative technologies in educational sector such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics or Virtual Reality,
  • how to implement these emerging technologies in learning and what are the goals we want to achieve.

If you are interested in Education, Technology and Development, join LEA & SERN in Valencia and enjoy in the opportunity for learning and networking!

Check for more information on the session here.


RegioStars Awards 2019: The European Awards for innovative projects

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The call for RegioStars Awards 2019 is open! Every year, the European Commission awards those EU-funded projects, which demonstrate excellence and new approaches in regional development. With the goal of inspiring other regions and project managers across Europe, participating projects are in the spotlight of communication activities at European level.  The official award ceremony will take place during the annual European Week of Regions and Cities in October 2019.

The REGIOSTARS are awarded to projects in five thematic categories. This year, the REGIOSTARS are focused on five areas that are crucial for the future of EU regional policy:

  • Smart growth: Promoting digital transformation
  • Sustainable growth: Connecting green, blue and grey
  • Inclusive growth: Combatting inequalities and poverty
  • Urban development: Building climate-resilient cities
  • Topic of the year 2019: Modernising health services

Is you project original and innovative? Do you think it inspires other and deserves to be recognized as good practices in regional development? Submit your project and give it a go! The online application platform is open from 19 February until 9 May 2019.

More information on the award categories and application here.


EU budget future

Members of EU Parliament agree on rules for future regional and cohesion funding

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New rules for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Cohesion Funds (CF) were approved on 14 February 2019 by the Regional Development Committee and will be applied in the context of the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027. The updated rules aim to strengthen the EU’s economic, social and territorial cohesion policy. They will cover all regions, with special focus on less developed communities, urban and outermost regions and, as rapporteur Andrea Cozzolino highlighted, “for the first time, a minimum of 5% could also be allocated to small villages and rural areas which were hit hard by the crisis.”

Countries Minimum % of resources at national level for

“smarter Europe”

Minimum % of resources at national level for

“greener Europe”

More developed regions

(GDP per capita above 100% of average EU GDP)

50% 30%
Transitions regions

(GDP per capita between 75-100% of average EU GDP)

40% 30%
Less developed regions

(GDP per capita below 75% of average EU GDP)

30% 30%

Members of EU Parliament said that the significant part of the ERDF should be spent on smart growth and the green economy, while the Cohesion Funds should continue to focus on investment in environmental and transport infrastructure. Regions should spend at least 30% to 50% of the funding received on a smart, innovative Europe and, on the fight against climate change and for the circular economy, every region has to invest at least 30% to achieve these crucial goals. More information can be found here.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cover all regions, concentrate most money on vulnerable areas
  • Focus more on sustainable urban development and accommodate special needs of outermost regions
  • Increase funding dedicated to climate objectives
STARTS Residencies

STARTS Residencies

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STARTS (Science, Technology & the Arts) is an initiative of the European Commission, launched under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Its purpose is to support collaborations between artists, scientists, engineers and researchers to develop more creative, inclusive, and sustainable technologies. STARTS aims to profit from the creativity and the critical thinking of artists to reflect on novel uses of technology and allow technology to be more seamlessly integrated into society.

The STARTS Residencies programme aims to support and fund artistic residencies that bring original artistic contributions to technology-based projects. The starts residencies days will take place from March 27 to March 28 at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The entrance is free. This event aims to showcase the results of this artistic residency programme, during two days the audience will be invited to:

  • Discover the residency projects and preliminary results, presented by the artists and the researchers involved in the second wave of residencies
  • Learn more about the art-tech journeys of the winners of the first call
  • Participate in an interactive performance
  • Reflect on participative design
  • Get inspired by heads of institutions and communities’ thoughts on art&tech collaborations
  • Attend the official announcement of the 2019 laureates

More information here.

SERN is looking for a Junior Communication Officer!

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Startup Europe Regions Network is looking for a new talent to our unit to perform functions as a Junior Communication Officer.

Who are we looking for?

Highly motivated, detail-oriented and team spirited Junior Communication Officer to create and implement communication strategies. As our association expands, we are looking for someone who can promote our network, interact with the public and establish productive relationships with key stakeholders and policymakers. He/she will act as a key contact for our members and will be involved in increasing the visibility of the network online, including website content planning and social media activities. Ability to embrace a diversity of tasks is essential.

Are you able to demonstrate experience in….?

  • Communicating across various channels including face-to-face, with the ability to engage new members, startup association or SMEs
  • Working with European funded projects, including an ability to act as a spokesperson
  • Web service administration and social media knowledge, strong familiarity with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Managing data and databases of contacts (procuring, monitoring, evaluating and extracting data)
  • Strong understanding of and ability to navigate confidently on web-based technologies
  • Content creation for blogs and newsletters
  • Excellent written and spoken command of English and French (interview will include a test)
  • Ability to work flexibly, including occasional international short-term travels
  • Being an active internet user knowledge of relevant technology and services (CMS, Social media, Google Analytics…)

What will be your responsibilities?

  • Support and promote SERN’s goals, including message development, social media content creation and media outreach
  • Implement and manage email and social media marketing campaigns using different platforms
  • Build and maintain relationships with SERN members, journalists, bloggers, investors and customer audiences that will help advance our network
  • Manage EU projects where SERN is involved as partners and contribute to EU proposals preparation.
  • Engage new members, establish contact with association and other relevant stakeholders in Brussels and beyond.
  • Keep abreast of new social media sites, web technologies, and digital marketing trends; implement these new technologies in developing campaigns and update current campaigns to include new information
  • Regularly contribute to reporting activities, ensuring accurate recording of data
  • Co-organise events, meetings and large-scale conferences


  • Knowledge of the Brussels startups ecosystem
  • Knowledge and understanding of data protection and GDPR
  • Working knowledge of Portuguese language
  • Basic or intermediate knowledge of Photoshop and video editing would be a plus
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Marketing & Communication

Sounds good?

If so, send your CV in English till 04/03/2019, to If you pass the first selection phase, we will contact you! We are curious to discover your talent!


More information about the position is available here