ICT and start-up growth still uneven across the EU?

Employment and Social Affairs
The EU is committed to develop jobs in Information and communication technologies (ICT). But how is the situation of start-up entrepreneurs across Europe?

The EU is committed in developing Information and communication technologies (ICT) related job. In the actual context of high youth unemployment, skills such as entrepreneurship are essential in offering a good alternative chance to many young Europeans.

Furthermore developing the sector of Information and communications technologies is a key action in the framework of an EU digital single market. On the other side it could be highlighted that ICT potentially destroy many jobs: a projection published in January by the World Economic Forum highlight that 5 million jobs in the world’s leading economic countries could disappear over the next years because of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. The impact of the technological revolution on the job market is the central topic of this report.

Despite this, it is still true that online opportunities for boosting the job market could be potentially even wider that the abovementioned negative impact. The EU is a key actor in this process:  Horizon 2020  provides funding for the period 2014-2020 for every stage of the innovation process.

Programmes like Start-up Europe aims at strengthening the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs so that their ideas and business can start and grow in the EU. But another aspect to focus on is that not all the EU countries react at the same level and keep developing at the same pace this market.

 Estonia’s best practice

On one side we could highlight the best practice in this sector as regard the Baltic countries or Sweden. For example the government of Estonia this week endorsed a legislative amendment that would facilitate the stay in the country of foreign people who are making a contribution to the country’s economic environment. The bill would facilitate the procedure of application for fixed-term residence permit for foreign entrepreneurs in a start-up business and the procedure of hiring them.

The field of information and communication technology is developing rapidly, and exactly in the same way must we develop our legislation in a flexible manner to enable entrepreneurial and skilled workers to come to Estonia to seek professional fulfilment,” Estonian Interior Minister Hanno Pevkur said.

The final aim is to create a better environment for foreign investors and attract foreign investments by introducing the category of residence permit for foreign entrepreneurs that invest at least one million Euros in an Estonian company.

Tallinn government has in its programme of actions for developing the domain of information and communication technology set as its goal to enable more specialists in the field of information and communication technology and their families to take up residence in Estonia.

To that end, the foreigners who are issued a residence permit for employment in the field of information and communication technology are not subject to the immigration quota.

As for the situation in other EU countries, much more work is needed; that highlight the fact that the potential growth driven by ICT related start up at the end of the day depend mostly by the job market situation and the legislative framework of each EU country.

Even though the EU business environment has improved, progress remains uneven across different countries. While it is rather easy to establish a new company in some countries, the procedures are still too complicated in others.

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