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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MY-WAY (Strengthening the web entrepreneurship ecosystem in Europe for young people by creating a pan-European network of actively engaged student networks and student entrepreneurship centres)
H2020

MY-WAY Report Summary

Project ID: 644367
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MY-WAY (Strengthening the web entrepreneurship ecosystem in Europe for young people by creating a pan-European network of actively engaged student networks and student entrepreneurship centres)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2015-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

When the MY-WAY project was funded in 2014, the European landscape of web entrepreneurship was highly fragmented: although many support initiatives existed, they did not coordinate their efforts, information was lacking and young European prospective entrepreneurs were necessarily limited to their local options when searching for information and support. The idea of MY-WAY came from talks and confidence boosting speeches on how young adults should start and develop their businesses. We started with a few basic thoughts, such as startup business is about connections; you need to reach the critical mass to get your message visible; build on what exists; copy what works; you can do it. These messages are easy to understand but more difficult to implement. Listening to young people’s challenges, it became clear that connecting the stakeholders of the web entrepreneurship ecosystem (mentors, accelerators, VCs, incubators etc.) with the student networks; connecting the students with business people and connecting the available platforms and initiatives across Europe had the potential of providing all actors with an added value and increase the effectiveness of the web entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The project therefore set itself the following objectives:
• Enhancing coordination and collaboration between key actors in web entrepreneurship and developing methods of embedding and transferring good practices in different student support centres;
• Developing and activating a network of student support centres in web entrepreneurship;
• Structuring information on support services and initiatives on web entrepreneurship, identifying and disseminating good practices in student support and web entrepreneurship services;
• Promoting existing web entrepreneurship initiatives, creating synergies across these communities by engaging students and their social network resulting in improved services;
• Providing tailored information and guidance to –prospective young entrepreneurs, students and the student support centres on the web entrepreneurship ecosystem;
• Opening up possibilities for using an open innovation model by partnering with existing startups and SMEs looking for talent and discovering new lines for their business;
• Changing the mindset of the targeted young adults on web entrepreneurship by boosting their confidence, offering tailored information on web entrepreneurship.

In order to address the above mentioned challenges and to achieve these goals, Europa Media Non-profit Ltd., coordinator of the project, involved major players of the web entrepreneurship ecosystem from across Europe whose complementary expertise and knowledge will ensure the successful implementation of MY-WAY activities:
• Bar Ilan University, in particular the Graduate School of Business Administration, which offers MBA and PhD programs in a variety of focal areas, including finance, strategy, marketing, information technologies and systems, and organisational behaviour.
• The London Association of Enterprise Agencies Ltd. (Capital Enterprise), a not-for-profit membership group for organisations that deliver enterprise support in London.
• Sabanci University, internationally recognised as one of the most innovative and research-oriented universities in Turkey.
• AEGEE - European Students’ Forum, one of Europe’s biggest interdisciplinary student organisations, which runs the Youth Unemployment Project, including the European School of Entrepreneurship.
• EU-Startups.com, one of the leading online magazines covering European internet and mobile startups.
• National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE), a UK-wide network of enterprise societies that aims at making entrepreneurship an achievable career option
• YES-European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs, the main association of young entrepreneurs in Europe working for boosting entrepreneurial culture in Europe, improving entrepreneurial education

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

MY-WAY has achieved all set objectives for the period. MY-WAY partners have mapped the web-entrepreneurship ecosystem and developed a dynamic map for prospective entrepreneurs; have defined the needs of the students and the capabilities of the student organizations. The project consortium has shared a set of European best practices on student support activities, which were analysed in the context of capability gaps defined at student organizations. During the first 12 months the MY-WAY consortium has organized one Stakeholder meeting in Brussels with the involvement of major players of the European web-entrepreneurship community and facilitated numerous discussions with local stakeholders in order to engage them and involve them into MY-WAY activities. MY-WAY partners have participated in several tech and startup events across Europe as speakers, panellist, workshop moderators and exhibitors in order to increase the visibility of MY-WAY and the Startup Europe Initiative as well as engage the future generation of web-entrepreneurs.

More specifically the project achievements in the first 12 months:

Mapping the ecosystem

One of the major challenges for young entrepreneurs is the fact that often they are not aware of the existing resources available to them, both locally and across Europe. In the implementation of WP2 – Ecosystem, MY-WAY partners have therefore taken the following steps to design, create and populate an online Map of European Web Entrepreneurship ecosystem:

o Defined a mapping procedure, detailing the steps and the data collection methodology, with an eye on ensuring data comparability. The method chosen was based on the Value Network Analysis methodology (Allee, 2008).
o Created a list of classes. In order to define the specific needs of web entrepreneurs, a pre-test was conducted among experienced web entrepreneurs, to identify the most important resources required in the first phases of starting and running a new business. Accordingly, the following list of classes was created: VC’s Accelerators/incubators, Angels, Crowd funding, Internet Service Providers (ISP), Technical web services, Web developers, Legal services, Accounting services, Student centres, Governmental support agencies, Patent registration services.
o Created an interactive web-based tool to support the dynamic mapping process of the entrepreneurial ecosystem population. Users should first choose a European city (we currently offer 80 cities). For each city, the map will show available classes, and within each class a list of single entities is provided, with relevant data.
o Began to populate the map, distributing ten cities (Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Dublin, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Milan, Stockholm and Tel Aviv) amongst partners. The following information was required for each entity: name, website, short description/comments, class type, country, town, address, list of services.

The methodology and the platform developed by MY-WAY are helping student centres to support web entrepreneurs in their endeavours to start and run a new business by understanding their immediate environment and to locate required resources. The mapping process is a dynamic, open to continuous updates and modifications. MY-WAY is already encouraging and welcoming new additions in terms of missing entities, as well as feedback in terms of user’s experience.

Survey and interviews: Better understanding current challenges of student support centres and of young prospective entrepreneurs.

In WP2, MY-WAY partners also conducted an online survey and face-to-face interviews to identify and better understand the needs and capabilities of the student networks and the young adults in different EU countries. A statistical analysis of the combined survey and quantized interview responses was performed via the Sequential Design method. The full analysis has shown that a variety of capability gaps persist in the current entrepreneurship support system within web e

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

MY-WAY activities have already started to demonstrate their socio-economic relevance on for target groups: young adults, student support centres, business actors and policy-makers.
Moreover, the solid collaboration with other projects under the Startup Europe umbrella has served as a multiplier, particularly in terms of network that could be reached for awareness raising, invitations to stakeholder meetings, overall better understanding of the European tech and entrepreneurship ecosystems, and finally for the design and signing of potential collaboration agreements.

In its first year of business, MY-WAY has certainly acquired an increasing attention, and has successfully raised awareness on current challenges of young entrepreneurs and of student networks willing to support them. MY-WAY has already strongly affected four target groups, and will continue to do so in the coming year. In particular:

The Online Map and the results of our Surveys and Interviews have affected:
Young adults, who have started to better understand the European web entrepreneurship ecosystem, learned to map it and to take actions in it. They have also received easier and more direct access to relevant information, having the ability to directly contribute to it.
Business actors, who are represented on the map and will have easier access to talent.

The Stakeholder Meetings have had a positive impact on:
Young adults, who have had the unique chance to discuss face-to-face with relevant actors whom they would have never met otherwise. They have also acquired more relevant information and access to training and services, while at the same time gaining negotiation strength on the stakeholders themselves, since the discussions took place in a very informal and multilateral way, encouraging networking and a free exchange of views.
Student support centres (student network members, their alumni and student entrepreneurship centres at HE organisations), who have acted as multipliers and channelled more tailored support for the represented young adults through the beginning of a systematic cooperation. They have also started to become more engaged in the web entrepreneurship ecosystem and to represent better the young adults.
Business actors have also received the unique chance to better understand the needs of young adults and the existing gaps in the European ecosystem, thus benefiting from the opportunity to offer more tailored support. Furthermore, new collaboration agreements with student support centres, designed and discussed during the stakeholder meetings, have the potential to further increase business actors’ access to talent across Europe.

MY-WAY’s overall dissemination and communication actions, on social media, during events and in collaboration with Startup Europe, have:
Encouraged young adults to start a web-based business, given the broad and positive outlook on entrepreneurship which has been promoted.
Helped business actors and policy makers better understand existing challenges, needs and gaps on part of young adults and student support centres across Europe in the field of entrepreneurship.

In a longer term perspective, MY-WAY will:
1. Further contribute to increase the likelihood of young adults finding the necessary startup financial support;
2. Support policy-makers in receiving understandable messages from young adults and share their messages with the young adults;
3. Facilitate the uptake, by policy makers, of our research and activities results to further improve the actions of the European Commission’s Startup Europe initiatives.
4. Facilitate and enhance the communication between the policy-makers, decision-makers and the young disruptors of the European web entrepreneurship ecosystem so that they collaborate more effectively

Related information

Record Number: 186600 / Last updated on: 2016-07-14