Friday, 14 November 2014

Ireland is in Top Ten Tech Hot Spots - Spotcap

Finding entrepreneurial success is not just a matter of being there at the right time, but also being in the right place. Spotcap, the fastest online credit platform, turns the spotlight on five hidden champions of the European SME scene.

1. Sweden

Swedish entrepreneurs have been behind some of the biggest names in business, including Spotify, Skype and Soundcloud, proving that the country has strong potential as a startup hub. SMEs have become a viable source for new employment. With excellent entrepreneurial education, improved regulatory systems and a better return on capital for small and medium sized enterprises, Sweden has established a solid system to foster entrepreneurship.

2. Spain

Despite being hit hard by the recession, Spain has embraced entrepreneurship with open arms and is on track to becoming an SME powerhouse. Entrepreneurs already generate the majority of Spain's new jobs. SMEs account for 65% of GDP and 80% of total employed people in Spain. The Spanish government has introduced a variety of initiatives to improve entrepreneurial conditions; measures include tax breaks, funding programs and the removal of administrative charges.

3. Netherlands

The Dutch pride themselves on a flourishing startup scene and their position at the forefront of European entrepreneurial activity. According to a recent European Commission SBA Fact Sheet, the entrepreneurship rate in the Netherlands is 6% higher than in the EU as a whole. There is a strong awareness of the economic importance of SMEs, which is why the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs makes encouraging entrepreneurship a top policy priority.

4. Poland

Renowned in global startup circles for its highly skilled tech talent, particularly around programme coding, Poland’s domestic entrepreneurial scene is now coming into its own, as illustrated by the likes of fashion startups such as Mustache, Shwrm and shopping loyalty brand ZenCard. The country has emerge from its prolonged period under Soviet rule with its appetite for capitalism intact. Its post-modern culture has not only embraced the fundamentals of entrepreneurship – startup owners here are far more open to networking and collaboration than they ever were – Poland is also seizing the international initiative and using its home grown technical talent to compete globally.

5. Ireland

It may not be the largest European capital, but Dublin when it comes to attracting global startup interest the city punches well above its weight; 140 overseas businesses either took up home or expanded in Ireland in 2012, according to Ireland’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA) data. Much of the credit for Dublin’s status as an eminent tech hub goes to Enterprise Ireland, a government-sponsored organisation with one of the largest venture funds in Europe, and remarkably good access to seed investment, including funding that is available from a growing number of accelerators, such as Launchpad.

4. Estonia

At a time when many European countries are struggling with economic uncertainty, the Baltic state has proven itself to be an economic dark horse with one of the lowest government debt to GDP scores in the world. Estonia’s administration is responsive to the needs of small businesses. In 2013, Juhan Parts, Estonia’s then Minister of Economic Affairs, announced his ambition to make Estonia one of the best countries in the world to establish a company and introduced the Estonian Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy 2014-2020.

6. Austria

The European Commission continues to praise the resilience of Austria’s SME sector, which has expanded continuously since 2009. Austria’s access to markets in Central and Eastern Europe and neighboring Germany provide ample trade opportunities. On top of new funding opportunities, Austria has lowered the minimum share capital for creating a limited company and minimized administrative and tax burdens. The Austrian Chamber of Commerce has even developed an SME stress test to help protect entrepreneurial endeavors.