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European Push To Take On Silicon Valley Gathers Steam In Davos

Tech leaders, global corporations, universities and financial institutions have joined the European Commission in two initiatives to nurture Europe's tech and digital start-ups into global internet companies.

European Union's Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes on Thursday launched a new accelerator - the Start-up Europe Partnership - and a new think tank - the European Digital Forum - at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "Europe needs thriving start-ups and global internet companies to become a global growth center again," Kroes said.

"Politicians don't create jobs, entrepreneurs do. We're going to support that mindset and push European start-ups beyond their comfort zone. And then we're going to get out of the way. Sometimes the best thing a political leader can do is get out of the way," she added.

Founding partners of these projects are Telefonica, Orange, BBVA, European Investment Bank, Cambridge University, IE Business School, Humboldt University, the Lisbon Council, Nesta and Mind the Bridge Foundation.

The Start-up Europe Partnership will help start-ups break through their national glass ceiling into global maturity. Its secretariat will be led by the Mind the Bridge Foundation, a non-profit corporation and Nesta, the UK's innovation foundation.

The European Digital Forum will give entrepreneurs a voice in policy debates and aims to become Europe's leading think tank and policy network on digital entrepreneurship. It will also produce an annual Digital Economy Index to measure how friendly Europe is to the mind-set required to succeed in the digital era. Its secretariat will be led by the Lisbon Council in collaboration with Nesta.

The Start-up Partnership and Digital Forum are the Commission's first concrete actions to deliver new business conditions in Europe following delivery of a Manifesto by the Startup Europe Leaders Club to Europe's Prime Ministers and Presidents in October.

Few startups have been able to scale up in Europe and reach a pan-European size. The SEP will build bridges between Europe's start-up, corporate and investment communities to help EU startups raise funds and beat language barriers to reach maturity as global champions.

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