Startups Policies in Europe

ICT startups are often seen as a key for transformation of the current economy and society, but also as a major driver for new and innovative jobs especially for the younger generation.  The European Union has included in the Digital Agenda for Europe the Start Europe project that aims to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs so that their ideas and business can start and grow in the EU.

This section is looking to national initiatives in relation to startups and tries to identify whether there are national projects aimed at encouraging innovation, competitiveness and market growth by supporting ICT and web startups.

CountryNational legislation/policies supporting startups and entrepreneursStartups associationsStartups Incubators / Accelerators

Major Startup competitions


Neugründungs-Förderungsgesetz (NeuFöG) reduces taxes and social insurance fees for first-time entrepeneteurs.

Austrian Startups

Startups are members of the chamber of commerce, which supports Startups and SMEs with various activities.

Gruender Service


Speed Invest



i5 invest





National Strategy for Encouraging Small and Medium Enterprises: Small Business Act


Small and Medium Enterprises Act

On the 9th May 2016 a public discussion on a Draft Act of Innovations was initiated by the Bulgarian Ministry Council. The legislative act aims to boost competitiveness and innovative potential and thus create a knowledge-driven sustainable economy. Specific measures for the implementation of the aforesaid objectives include: tax reductions and direct financial aid for innovative enterprises; increase in job numbers in the sector; enhancing the cooperation between education, science and business entities and others. Nonetheless, the draft has not yet been proposed for adoption by the Bulgarian Parliament.


ABLE Bulgaria


StartIt Smart

brain WORKSHOP Institute

National association of the Bulgarian startup entrepreneurship society (set up on 14 September 2017)



Startup Bootcamp

Digital Alliance

Bulgarian angles



Sofia Techpark incubator

PowerUp (major start up competition)



Get in the ring


Czech Republic

Law No. 47/2002 (Support for SMEs)

CzechInvest – Investment and Business Development Agency

Small and Medium Enterprises Support Strategy 2014-2020

Financial support of SMEs and starting entrepreneurs via state owned Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank

CzechInvest – Investment and Business Development Agency

South Moravia Innovation Centre

JIC Startcube



Impact Hub Praha

Some minor calls and competitions are organized by the Start-up accelerators.

Major competitions with a support of three main telcom companies:


Nadace O2

Rozjezdy Roku


La French Tech.

In addition to FrenchTech, the Tech 40 label supports innovative start-ups (not only French, European wide) by enhancing their visibility and providing specific assistance during a year.

The setup of an “Innovation cluster” three years ago, put CNIL in contact with start-ups in order to ensure optimal advise on data protection from the earliest stages of product design.

Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir

Call for proposal for investors through the operator Bpifrance - EUR 200M investment capacity

French Tech Initiative

Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, USA - 160 French startups and companies present





Existenzgründerzuschuss”: unemployed people who decide to become an entrepreneur will receive support for the first six month, § 93 SGB III

Berlin Startup Unit

BITKOM Get Started

Deutscher Gründerpreis

High Tech Gründerfonds

EXIST programme for start-ups in the science field



Law D.L. 3/2015 – Investment Compact, which includes the possibility to establish a new kind of SME: the Innovative SME.

Law 18 October 2012, no. 179 and in particular the articles 25, 26, 27, 28, 29. A synthesis of the Italian law on start-up is available here.

CONSOB regulation on Equity Crowdfunding, with important changes made on February 2016 for start ups funding (recognition of the role of “business angel”) – Resolution no. 1950 del 25 febbraio 2016.

Minister for Economic Development – updating of synthesis of Italian legislation on innovative start-ups (May 2016)

On December 2016 seven associations of startups and investors met together and proposed a manifesto for supporting the ecosystem of innovation and innovative startups.

On July 2016 the Ministry of Economic Development started the first census of Italian startups: StartupSurvey

On December 2016 a group of organizations, head by the Ministry of Economic Development opened the online patent office.

On December 2016 the Ministry of Economic development evaluated the state of implementation of the law 179/2012 on innovative start-ups 4 years after it came into effect.

On January 2017 the University Bocconi of Milan published a report on the capacity of start-ups to get funds.

Politecnico di Milano:

Università degli studi di Trento

Politecnico di Torino

LUISS EnLabs – the Startup Factory, based in Rome.

Italia Startup
Associazione Start up turismo
Roma Start-up

Premio Ericsson

Trentorise – Societal Innovation rooted in Research and Education

Startup Europe Partnership


INVITALIA - Smart and Start

REGIONE LAZIO - Lazio regional government, through Roma Casilino Incubator and Tecnopolo Tiburtino High-tech Incubator

Training for ICT start-up

Wind - Training Platform for start-up

Best Programme 2015, issued by the USA Embassy in Italy

Startupper School Academy of the Lazio regional government (training for 2000 boys and girls in the year 2015-2016)

Emilia Romagna Startup – La rete per la creazione di impresa innovativa

Napoliest Incubator

“Made in Italy. Eccellenze in digitale”, made by Google, Unioncamere and 64 Chambers of Commerce based in Italy.

La Repubblica delle Idee

WindforFund – crowfundg platform promoted by Wind and DeRev

Lazio Regional government, The last competition was: “Fondo per la creatività” aimed at supporting innovative startups

Best Programme 2015, issued by the USA Embassy in Italy

Emilia Romagna Start-up – competition for innovative startups; call for startups within Programma operativo regionale Fesr 2014-2020

Fondazione Cariplo: Cariplo Factory for promoting innovation and supporting start-ups

Vodafone Foundation: Digital for social

Digital 360 Awards

Samsung App Academy

Giornata della generatività sociale


Malta Enterprise Innovative start-ups

Business First

JCI - Best business plan competition

MITA Student Start-up Award

Chapter 463 (2003, as amended in 2013) Malta Enterprise Act

General innovation policy for startups covers also foreign companies operating inside the NL including IT sector.

The English introduction is available here, or the Startup NL Manifesto.

Also Dutch immigration laws are changed to from Jan. 1 2015 to give visa to non-EU startup founders.

Official communication documents between Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Dutch of Representatives.




Netherland ICT

ACE connect


Young Startup

Dutch Incubation Association

Startupdelta supported by the Dutch government


Dutch private Hubs:

ICT Startup

Eindhoven Startups

Utrecht inc


Holland Startup





Lean Startup Machine

ACE Venture Lab Amsterdam

Startup Weekend 2015

ABN AMRO Digital Impact Fund




ICTRegie Award

New Venture

SIDN Funds to finance projects promoting  innovation, research, education, security and trust

Tu Delft

Loey Awards

Dell For Entrepreneurs 2015 Award


Business Angels Law - a law granting fiscal benefits to investors (an English synthesis new law is available here)

Start Up Romania - project of the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business Relations



Risky Business - acceleration fund

Venture Connect

Tech Hub

Impact Hub

Connect Hub


Innovation Labs - a pre-acceleration program that advances tech creativity and entrepreneurial drive among young professionals and students

Startup Spotlight (and How to Web conference)


Law of Physical Persons Income Tax (IRPF) Article 42.2 f) which stipulates up to 12.000€ tax-free stock options for employees, a measure aimed to help companies attract talent

ENISA: a Spanish government institution providing funding in the form of “participative loans” (a blend of traditional loan and venture capital) for innovative projects for startups and other SMEs.

CDTI: (Center for Industrial and Technological Development), a Spanish government institution for promoting and funding technical innovation and development for companies

Asociación Española de Startups

Wayra Lanzadera Mola

Sonar Ventures

Spain Startup

Emprendedor XXI

Startup event/competition:



Ordinance on the Federal coordination of policies in favour of SMEs


Startupticker Association

Comprehensive map of the tech startup community in Switzerland with filters for incubators and accelerators

Swiss ICT Award

Best of Swiss Web Swiss award for e-business and internet

CH Open Source Awards

Top 100 Start up Award Award for the 100 best Swiss start-ups.

Swiss Technology Award


United Kingdom

The UK Digital Strategy is policy

Entrepreneurs setting up in UK provides guidance

Further policy and guidance publications, including sector specific, can be found here

Techworld provides a summary of government support, including funding, support, visas, broadband and mentoring

StartUp Britain




Digital Catapult


EY Startup Challenge

Accenture Open Innovation

PWC Accelerator

Some of the examples:

StartUp World Cup

 The Pitch

The Start Up Award and
The Innovation Award

KPMG Presents: The Best British Mobile Startup 2017

More examples at: The Entrepreneur Handbook & at Startup Competition Guide




Last updated 28 February 2018.

Suggestions? Corrections? Additions? Please send us an email at observatory (at) mappingtheinternet (dot) eu. Or suggest via this webform.

Link - Posted on Monday 15 September 2014

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