This Inform provides a summary of the issues addressed at the European Migration Network’s (EMN) Annual Conference, entitled The EU in the Global Race for Talents: Challenges and Solutions in Strengthening the EU’s Competitiveness which took place in Tallinn on 21-22 September 2017.
Key points to notes:
- While there currently is no EU-wide startup visa policy in place, recent years have seen a proliferation of startup schemes across Member States (MS) offering various incentives for startup entrepreneurs from third countries.
- The common aim of startup schemes is to develop entrepreneurial ecosystems, fuel economic growth and innovation, and make the country more competitive in the globalised knowledge economy.
- Although the admission conditions vary across Member States, having an innovative idea is a common condition to all startup schemes. Yet MS define ‘innovation’ in different ways.
- Member States with no special regulation for startups can also be successful in attracting foreign entrepreneurs, especially if they have a reputation for being a tech hub.
- Wider promotion of startup schemes is important. As such schemes are relatively new in most countries, many possible applicants are unaware of the existing possibilities.
- Measures for attracting and retaining startup founders should be part of broader efforts in fostering innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the EU.
- Third-country national (TCN) founders often choose to relocate to places where they think they have the highest likelihood of succeeding. This means that besides migration policies, the general business environment matters.
- Starting a business in an unfamiliar business environment creates additional risks for entrepreneurs. A dialogue with the private sector and founders themselves is essential to design a system that would be attractive for entrepreneurs and would help them to minimise any additional risks caused by relocation.