EU launches €15m Horizon 2020 fund for IT entrepreneurs

Horizon 2020 fund will help support school leavers as well as established startups to encourage more risk-taking in business

The European Union has announced a €15m fund to help entrepreneurs in the IT space.

Coming under the Horizon 2020 umbrella – a seven-year project to promote research and innovation across the EU – the money will go towards helping startups at each stage of their journey, from leaving university and taking the risk on launching their own business through to helping make European companies go global.

“I have seen many great innovative startups around Europe, from Barcelona to Berlin, from Stratford to Sofi; and they need our help,” said Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission. “We need to build a thriving web and app economy which embraces and accelerates the digital revolution.”

The fund will be split in two, with the first €5m targeted at accelerators and incubators helping young people take their first steps after school or university to become entrepreneurs. This will include a competition across at least 10 EU states to find the best business idea, as well as summer academies to build skills and innovation.

We need to build a thriving web and app economy which embraces and accelerates the digital revolution

Neelie Kroes, European Commission

The other €10m will be allocated to startups which use web and mobile technologies as the key part of their business model and be available to everyone, from co-working spaces to technology blogs.

“We need to support the entrepreneurs who will launch innovative online businesses which will change the world and create jobs for our young people, and this Horizon 2020 funding will go a long way to help,” said Kroes.

The deadline to send in proposals is 23 April 2014, with seminars running in January to help participants build their plans.

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