By Sally Low
LOWEurope is not just a company, we are a community. A community who come together to meet client’s requirements. Also, we come together to think about how we should develop our offer for the future.
In July, we had just such a gathering here in Brussels, including Associates from several European countries. Each of us was invited to say where or how we thought new opportunities would come, which LOW would be best equipped to respond to.
It could have been a smorgasbord, or an Eton mess. It turned out to be a pudding with a theme: enterprise. Born of our experience, particularly in supporting the European Commission’s SME Assembly, European Enterprise Promotion Awards and Enterprise week, all our Associates believe that enterprise is key and is where we need to be.
Entrepreneurs are not just born, they can be made. Europe needs them and we need more of them. The power of example is a strong motivator. Take the entrepreneurs we highlight in Lowdown from the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, they encourage others to follow their lead. Create the right conditions, too, with access to capital, access to skills and access to markets and more startups will become scale ups.
In addition, our associates told us that we can throw our net much wider. We have already identified the big gain from increasing women’s entrepreneurship, not least because women’s new businesses are more likely to be sustained. Marie-Elizabeth Rusling, from France, explained how the support for women’s startup businesses can be matched to angel investors looking for better returns. Extending the concept, as Professor Tom Cooney told us, we should be promoting inclusive entrepreneurship, involving diverse communities, backgrounds and attributes, recognising that successful entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and the inspiration and opportunity to create new business by spotting unmet needs can be found within every community.
Nor should we hide Europe’s light under a bushel. Europe is building increasingly effective networks to support startups and scale ups; why shouldn’t this be developed in other markets? Middle Eastern markets need diversification, and the innovation and broader base of commerce which growing new businesses will offer. And in Africa, there is no lack of young and keen entrepreneurs, but often there is a lack of the support structures and networks which can enable ideas to be taken to wider markets.
LOWEurope was a startup business nine years ago. We are a business led by women. We are an increasingly diverse international community. We can see for ourselves how enterprise can be promoted. Be it through inclusive entrepreneurship or in neighbouring regions, we are excited by the potential for enterprise policies to energise new markets.