ICT and Youth Entrepreneurship: interview with Ms Bruno

In this number of NEU, we wish to draw your attention to the topic of a debate that will take place  at the European Parliament on the 15 June, namely the relationship between ICT and Youth Entrepreneurship.

 As a main driver of competitiveness and growth, digital economy plays a relevant role in unlocking the outstanding potential of young innovators in Europe.

Over the last decade, the EU has provided tremendous efforts in promoting the youth entrepreneurship policies on all levels. However, in spite of the fact that both EU and its Member States are fostering youth private business ideas, only a slight step toward has been achieved.

As recently estimated by the European Commission, more than 800.000 ICT jobs will remain unfilled by 2020 in the European job market for the lack of graduates in Information and communication technology.

These figures stress the importance of helping young people to develop the digital skills they need: it is crucial to create the necessary conditions that will make possible for future entrepreneurs to pursue their aspirations, enabling them to start their businesses or boost their career.

Indeed, it is already well known that the Internet will became a crucial communications tool for more than two billion people in less than twenty years. On one hand, the Internet secured its place as an engine for economic growth, and one of the most important vehicles to face social and political challenges.

For example, some applications has been created to support or to find a potential solution to many situations greatly impacting refugees’ lives, one of the greatest problems Europe is facing nowadays.

On the other hand, the Internet has nonetheless given birth to opportunities for piracy, fraud, sabotage, theft, and new channels of economic and governmental espionage.

Therefore developing the sector of Information and communications technologies is a key action in the framework of an EU digital single market, especially because not all the EU countries reached the same level and develop this market at the same pace.

Are there better ways than putting together ICT and Youth entrepreneurs to foster digital development?

Maggioli Group, a leading actor in the support of public administrations, professionals and companies in the Italian market and abroad, firmly believes that there are no better ways than bringing together youth and innovation to reach excellence in the ICT field.

The commitment of Maggioli Group to these values is reflected in the upcoming event at the European Parliament, which will feature distinguished guests, such as Hon. Brando Benifei, MEP – Progressive Alliance of Socialist and Democrats (S&D), and Mr Massimiliano Dragoni, Senior Policy Officer Innovation Unit (DG Connect).

Maggioli Group will be represented by Mr Donato Todisco, International Relations and Development Manager; Mr Andrea Montefiori, CTO –R&D Manager; and Ms Samantha Bruno, Brussels Officer, who accepted to share with NEU some anticipations about the conference.

Ms Bruno, is youth entrepreneurship in ICT a trending topic in the economic agenda?

In the current scenario, promotion of entrepreneurship has become fundamental to reduce unemployment and social exclusion of young people, while stimulating job creation at the same time. 

With the launch of the Digital Single Market strategy on 6 May, the European Commission stressed even more that an inclusive digital society is the one where citizens have the right skills to seize the opportunities of the digital world and boost their chance of getting a job.  

The ICT sector is by definition a dynamic one, where challenging orthodox methods and searching for groundbreaking solutions are ultimate goals. Such innovative environment is then the perfect breeding ground where young talents can be properly encouraged and supported.

 Why is it important to discuss this theme in Brussels, in close ties with the European institutions?

Since 2008, EU policy agenda started to reflect a shift of attention from policies promoting small and medium-sized enterprises “tout-court”  towards policies promoting entrepreneurship in a broader sense.

The European institutions have thus put in place a large number of initiatives to promote youth entrepreneurship and support future innovators.

Different examples on this regard are the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, a cross-border exchange programme which gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in other participating countries; and the Youth Guarantee, established in 2013, which aims, among other things, to ensure greater availability of start-up support services for young people.

Another remarkable contribution in this direction is given by Horizon 2020, the European programme for research and innovation. Support for ICT plays a central role in Horizon 2020: in its first two years of implementation, the programme has allocated 2.4 billion euro in loans to 850 projects in the field of ICT, attracting 3.312 organizations.

What is the contribution that Maggioli Group, an established leader in the ICT sector, is giving to the youth dimension within the company ?

Our group has a strong position in the Italian market and is rapidly expanding also abroad, with offices in Brussels and Tirana.

In a perspective where the reference market is no longer national, it is therefore of key importance to leverage recent graduates or young professionals at the beginning of their career who have forefront skills and are at ease in “thinking European”.

This is the reason why 41% of our employees are less than 30 years old, and will be even more in the years to come.

Also, these talents get right in the game soon: they are given the opportunity to closely follow developments in the company’s internationalisation process, or directly involved with the carrying out and deployment of European projects in the field of research and innovation.

Further discussion on the theme will be addressed during our debate at the European Parliament, where I will be glad to welcome you, along with our distinguished speakers, on 15th June.”

Tommaso Ripani

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