Conceived, written and crowdsourced by leading startup associations and entrepreneurs

From Startup to
Scale Up

Make your voice heard and join the movement

Making The
‘Next Big Thing’

There’s no shortage of ambitious ideas in Europe; in fact, the continent boasts more entrepreneurs per capita than the United States, the traditional benchmark for excellence. But European startups face a difficult maze of problems – restricted national markets, a shortage of capital, a regulatory framework built for 19th century capitalism. That’s why we wrote The Scale Up Manifesto, a hard-hitting action plan with 49 proposals to help Europe “scale up.” Let’s make the next big thing right here in Europe. This is a call to action – with roles for all, and room for many.

The Manifesto

In 2016, European Commissioner Günther Oettinger spoke passionately to a group of leading startups at CeBIT, the global event for digital business, in Hannover, Germany. “Tell me what I need to do to help startups to scale up in Europe and together we will do it.” he said, his eyes visibly bright as he tossed out the challenge. The result is The Scale Up Manifesto, a 49-point roadmap which draws from the unique insights of dozens of leading European startup associations and successful entrepreneurs. The measures are divided into six headings: 1) complete the single market, 2) mobilise capital, 3) activate talent, 4) power innovation, 5) broaden education and 6) monitor, measure and evaluate.

the Single Market

Startups are not like other companies. Most of them aim not so much at long-term survival in a local market – the success metric for a small-and medium-sized business. Rather, they are typically built around an arguable proposition, usually an idea, often no more than a feeling or thesis.


Mobilise Capital

There are few places where Europe so palpably lags as mobilising finance for growth. To be sure, governments have made a major effort to address the problem in recent years. But the fact is, the European ecosystem is still routinely underpowered in the key area where startups find sustenance in the hard years – and rocket fuel in the good ones.


Activate Talent

Business-led manifestos have often stumbled around the contentious area of European labour law and the effect it has on hiring. Put simply, the cliché is to tell policymakers that what they need to do is to make it easier for entrepreneurs to “fire” people, which precisely misses the point.


Power Innovation

Europe spends on average €272 billion on research and innovation each year – a figure large enough to make Europe one of the world’s leading innovators, but not always enough to compete head-to-head with leading Asian and North American competitors.


Broaden Education

European educational systems struggle to equip young people with the skills they need to succeed. Unemployment rates among young people reach 25% at EU level, and more than 50% in countries such as Greece and Spain, while at the same time European companies say they will need as many as 825,000 more skilled ICT workers by 2020


Monitor, Measure
and Evaluate

Thought leadership is a hard thing to define – let alone to develop. But Europe has several key and evident challenges in this area. First and foremost, startup leaders must learn to speak up and be heard.


Founding Signatories

In keeping with the times, this manifesto is not the work of one person but of an entire community. Using a unique, crowdsourcing methodology, it was built up over several months – with dozens of people developing and testing ideas, probing each other rigorously, researching existing initiatives and imagining entirely new ones. It is not our manifesto; it is yours – written and conceived to drive change in the real world.

Karen Boers

Managing director and co-founder,

Paul Hofheinz

Director, European Digital Forum

Nils-Erik Jansson

President, European Startup Network

Bindi Karia

Serial Entrepreneur

Lenard Koschwitz

Director, Allied for Startups

Geoff Mulgan

Chief Executive, Nesta

Alberto Onetti

Chairman and president, Mind The Bridge Foundation

David Osimo

Director and co-founder, Open Evidence

Eva Paunova

Vice-President, European Movement International

Pedro Rocha Vieira

CEO and co-founder, Beta-I (Portugal)

Kaidi Ruusalepp

Founder and CEO, Funderbeam oü

Dmitri Sarle

CEO, ArcticStartup

Simon Schaefer

Founder, Factory

Matthias Ummenhofer

Founding Partner, Mojo Capital