EU Startup Nations Standard of Excellence will require the Member States to apply practices that encourage entrepreneurship and create a more favorable environment for start-ups. These include the introduction of a startup visa, facilitated company registration procedures and quick access to the local market, fully electronic communication between companies and administration, fast visa procedures for talents and entrepreneurs from outside the EU, incentives for experts to return to Europe, access to venture and equity capital, equal access to entrepreneurship, etc. The single standard also affords national and local institutions to establish regulations that provide an experimental environment for the development of city solutions by the companies, the so-called. “Sandboxes for innovation in a regulated environment”.
In Bulgaria, some of the practices have already been adopted. Access to capital in our country is supported by 14 venture and equity funds, which invest in companies from different sectors and at different stages of an enterprise. A Startup Visa has been introduced since mid-February, and at the local level, Sofia Municipality was the first to launch its Sandbox for Innovative Solutions programme. It tests pilot projects of the capital’s business for applicability in a real urban environment. However, Bulgaria has not yet signed the Declaration on EU Startup Nations Standard. The document was proposed during “Digital Day 2021” – a virtual event of the European Commission in cooperation with the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, which took place a few days ago. The declaration was adopted by 25 European countries and so far only Bulgaria, Hungary, and Croatia have not signed it. Member States are not obliged to adopt the Single Standard, but the Commission will expect those that do so to change some of their regulations over time or to introduce new good practices.
With the introduction of the EU Startup Nations Standard of Excellence, the European Commission aims to fulfill Europe’s potential to become the most attractive place for startups compared to global leaders such as the United States. With the establishment of proven practices in all countries of the continent, European startups will get better conditions, stay in the EU instead of moving their business to another continent, stimulate competition, technological exchange, scientific development, and more.
Read the full text of the Declaration on EU Startup Nations Standard here