Bringing a fresh digital vision from New Europe to Brussels
While Old Europe ponders its approach to the digital future, New Europe is rushing ahead to embrace the web as a motor for growth and prosperity. This past autumn, together with Financial Times, International Visegrad Fund and Res Publica, we announced the New Europe 100 list of innovators from Central and Eastern Europe.This past week, many of these entrepreneurs came to Brussels to present their ideas to the European Parliament.
The event featured real-life success stories :
- Kamila Sidor, CEO, Geek Girl Carrots from Poland who runs a successful social innovation movement to encourage more women into ICT careers;
- Michaela Jacova, Investment Manager, Neulogy VC from Slovakia, who supports aspiring talented entrepreneurs by awarding grants and matching with VC investors;
- Paul-Andre Baran, Director, Biblionet from Romania, who helps provides free access to computers and the internet through public libraries;
- Marcin Beme, CEO, Audioteka.pl from Poland, who founded a successful mobile platform offering digital audiobooks in Poland, Czech Republic, Hunagry , Spain, FInland, Sweden, Russia, Germany, France and Romania;
- Gergana Passy, Digital Champion of Bulgaria, who advocates for a free access to the internet, e-skills and digital transformation across the society.
MEP Michal Boni, former minister for digitization in Poland, hosted the debate, which featured a keynote address from Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist. Policymakers from around New Europe attended, including MEP Janusz Lewandowski, former Polish EU Commissioner; MEP Antanas Guoga from Lithuania, and Prof. Ziga Turk of University of Ljubljana and Former Minister for Growth in Slovenia.
All listened to the entrepreneurs offering important lessons on technology-driven innovation. Apart from sharing personal passion for ICT-driven innovation, the New Europe called on the politicians to create a positive environment for innovation. Their proposed ingredients include accepting business failures, attracting more women in ICT careers, increasing access to the Internet across the society, and simplifying rules for trading across the borders. Together, these measures represent a positive recipe for creating a true European digital single market.