According to the European entrepreneurs, EU’s approach to innovation policy is too focused on science and research, with little attention paid to business. Although innovation is one of the main EU’s concern related to competitiveness, some entrepreneurs say that the present approach is totally wrong.
Former Belgian entrepreneur of the year, Bart Van Coppenolle, says that the way to innovation in Europe is not always about inventing new technologies but more about integrating existing ones. Van Coppenolle also states that, contrary to European Commission beliefs, innovation is not only about research and science, but more about entrepreneurship.
Patents are a significant barrier to turning Europe into a knowledge economy, says David Harmon, a member of EU Innovation Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn’s cabinet. Registering a patent in Europe is about 20 times more expensive than in the United States, meaning that patent issue has low importance for most European SMEs.
Other entrepreneurs criticized the time taken to secure EU funds and the high rejection rate for applications from SMEs, referring that local funding sources are often a more attractive option for smaller companies. A change on Europe’s bankruptcy laws was suggested by OECD member Karen Wilson, in order to help SMEs overcoming their fear of failure. This psychological effect stills the main barrier to success, the entrepreneurs said.
Source: EurActiv European Union Information Website. To read the original text click here .