EAST Forum 2014 Promoting talent and entrepreneurship: a path to growth

The 9th edition of East Forum was held in Brussels on 24 October. Its theme was the promotion of talent and entrepreneurship as a path to growth.

The distinguished panel of speakers, holding important positions in European and international institutions and business, engaged in a lively and positive discussion.

Speakers included Giuseppe Vita, president of UniCredit; the vice president of the European Commission and Economic and Monetary Affairs commissioner, Jyrki Katainen; the CEO of the American start-up Enplug.com, Nanxi Liu; the head of technology transfer of the Italian Institute of Technology, Salvatore Majorana; the chief executive officer of UniCredit, Federico Ghizzoni; the father of the labour reform introduced by the Schroeder Government, Peter Hartz; the head of OECD’s Labour and Social Affairs Department, Stefano Scarpetta and Università Tor Vergata Professor Enrico Giovannini. 

The sessions focused on the role that investments and innovation play in European strategies for renewed growth. Innovation doesn't only concern the start-ups but also traditional companies and the small ones in particular. The consensus was that the European strategy should aim to complete the internal market, improve the financial system (and its capacity to dispense credit), complete the Banking Union and, more in general, the European Governance that should bring about greater political integration.

A key role will be played by the universities, which along with the companies are called to promote talent and develop new competences. A comparison between Europe and the USA brought to light the amazing ability of the latter in offering growth and development opportunities to the most innovative start-ups. Yet it has to be said that although in Europe the first steps towards staring a business venture are slower – partly due to a lack of harmonization and clarity of the legislation – on the other hand, the companies seem to enjoy greater support in product improvement and protection.

A central issue was the reform of the labour market, which can only be achieved with a broad political base, leadership abilities and the involvement of different social actors, resources, new ideas. To fight youth unemployment and give the young some kind of future. These reforms should not just affect the supply-side but also the demand. And particularly in times of crisis, they must promote individual resilience.

Farewell until the next edition of the EAST Forum: 16 July 2015!

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