Europe’s leadership in creating advancements for our society has faded away in the last years. The U.S. and China are way ahead of us in using the grand opportunities that arise with the Internet and digital technologies and tend to use our continent as their incubator for innovation. The probability that Europe may grow the next wave of billion dollar companies and world-class innovation has never been higher. However, in times of transition, there is a true need for systemic change and re-engagement. Taveet Hinrikus (Transferwise) and Mattias Ljungman (Atomico) moderated by Ann Mettler (European Political Strategy Centre) discussed how Europe can reconquer its leading position in the next wave of the digital revolution.
Ann Mettler started the discussion with the question: “Are we out of the woods? Do we have what it takes to be a digital leader?” Enumerating Europe’s obvious advantages of having five of the world’s leading universities and a huge number of highly educated graduates. Nevertheless, this does not lead to the desired flourishing entrepreneurial growth in Europe.
Ljungman and Hinrikus both painted a very positive picture of Europe’s future. Hinrikus stated, “I think we are living in hopeful time. We need to change the attitude we have in Europe and celebrate.” Where Ljungman said: “We are living in The Age of Entrepreneurship and it is the next generation of founders that really excite me! They are really tackling some of the world’s biggest problems.” Ljungman does not see a big threat of Europe falling back and not being able to compete with China and the US, as he believes: “Europe has advantages: We are multi-cultural, multi-lingual and we have always had a tradition of trading.” Adding: “The history of not having startups for a long time makes us much more flexible today.”