Policy changes related to entrepreneurship should focus on finance, management, flexibility and innovation in order to prevent a mass brain drain, says Professor Rudy Aernoudt, Senior Economist at the European Commission.
The world is on the verge of a great disruption sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time since the Great Depression of 1929, every country, every society and every economy in the world has seen the impact on health, employment, finance, trade and business. Every report we see—from the World Bank, IMF, OECD, WEF, WBAF and NASDAQ—forecasts wide-ranging effects of this great disruption.
Drawing together hundreds of the world’s top business leaders on a virtual platform, the 2021 World Congress of Angel Investors WBAF started shaping the global agenda for the world’s early- and post-early stage equity markets for the post-pandemic business environment. For the first time ever, the Forum’s annual congress, the world’s biggest annual gathering of early-stage equity and investment markets, hosted 6 continental summits with the participation of more than 700 delegates from around the world — all online.
An affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, the World Business Angels Investment Forum, through its continental summits, facilitates dialogues between entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and thought leaders. One of these dialogues was in the Europe Summit on 16 February; it hosted three keynote speeches (by Ilir Meta, President of the Republic of Albania; Prof. Ivo Josipović, 3rd President of the Republic of Croatia; and Prof. Rudy Aernoudt, Senior Economist at the European Commission) and two international roundtables.
Europe needs a policy change for entrepreneurs
Prof. Rudy Aernoudt, Senior Economist at the European Commission, says in his keynote, ‘Efficient administration, lack of corruption, and open banking systems allow countries to set up entrepreneurs for success: once these criteria are met, we must look at how we can make these criteria flexible. Making the lives of entrepreneurs as easy as possible should be a priority for policymakers, as entrepreneurs will be the ones who support Europe’s post-COVID-19 recovery. Policy changes related to entrepreneurship should focus on finance, management, flexibility and innovation in order to prevent a mass brain drain’.
Empowering Women with Investment
Prof. Aernoudt joined one of the roundtables of the Summit as a panellist as well. Touching on the current state of women’s financial inclusion in European economies, he says, ‘In a value-driven economy, we can move forward with female leadership. Thirty percent of companies in Europe are led by women but only 2% of those are supported by venture capital. The gender gap in financing leaves female entrepreneurs vulnerable to gaps in finance. By empowering women entrepreneurs with investment, we can motivate them to act decisively and therefore encourage female entrepreneurship’.
Flexibility around companies in Europe
He concludes, ‘Companies go where the money is! Five percent of companies in Europe are responsible for 80% of the growth in employment. We are obligated to value these companies for what they are and prevent their departure in order to foster economic opportunities in Europe’.
Prof. Rudy Aernoudt serves as a Senior Economist at the European Commission. He is professor of Corporate Finance and European Enterprise Policy at the Universities of Ghent and Nancy. He was Chief of Staff at European, Belgian federal, Flemish and Walloon level. He was director-general of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) programme, an initiative launched by a group of professors at MIT. He is also curator of TEDxBrussels and has published 25 books and over 300 papers on economy and philosophy. He is a co-founder of EBAN, (the European Business Angel Network), FREE (Foundation for Education and Entrepreneurship) and the ACE Growth Academy. He is a Senior Senator for the EU at the World Business Angels Investment Forum and a faculty member at the WBAF Business School.
You can re-live the Europe Summit WBAF 2021 here: www.wbs.wbaforum.org