Strand III – Startup Founders

This workshop strand focuses on the topic of attracting and retaining foreign start-up founders in Estonia and the EU. It is aimed at migrant entrepreneurs, the start-up community and policy makers. The workshop is organized by Startup Estonia and the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia. Speakers include representatives of the European Commission, Startup Genome, different Member States (e.g. Spain, the Netherlands) and the startup community in Estonia. Workshop is moderated by Lauren Proctor, Head of Marketing at Jobbatical, Estonia.

Session I: Attracting foreign startup founders

Competition over talent is more fierce than ever. A number of new startup hubs are developing fast across the EU, yet they need a critical mass of startups, entrepreneurs and investors to fuel their growth. Therefore, many countries are stepping up their game to stand out by offering various incentives to attract foreign startup entrepreneurs, ranging from funding schemes and tax reductions to fast-track startup visas. This session looks into different startup schemes rolled out by the Member States, addressing their successes and challenges, and exploring what else can be done to attract foreign founders.

Session II: Retaining foreign startup founders

Though specific startup visa schemes might be useful in facilitating entry to the EU, attracting foreign founders requires so much more. What are the factors that are critical for building a supportive ecosystem for startups to thrive? This session will use insights from the Startup Genome project to understand why founders remain in some startup hubs and leave others.

Moreover, startup entrepreneurs are always on the move, looking for the best surrounding to grow their business, which raises the question whether we should support the mobility of startup founders across the Member States or, instead, tie them down and limit their movements? This issue is tackled by representatives from the Member State governments, the European Commission and the startup community.



08:00—08:45Registration and networking
08:50—09:05Overview of Startup Schemes in different Member States
Based on the EMN questionnaire, a comparative overview of startup schemes
launched in different Member States will be given. Which countries have
launched specific startup schemes and how are they designed? What are the
similarities and differences and what have been the results?
Killu Vantsi, Ministry of Interior, Estonia
09:05—09:40Are Startup Schemes successful in attracting talent: the experience of
Netherlands and Spain

A more in-depth view of the results of the startup visa programs in
Netherlands and Spain will be given – i.e., have the schemes been successful in
attracting foreign founders, what have been the challenges etc.
Rogier Kok, Ministry of Security and Justice, Netherlands
María Reyes Fernández, Ministry of Employment and Social Security, Spain
09:40—10:00Attracting foreign founders without a specific Startup Scheme: the
experience of Germany, Czech Republic and Finland

Whilst several startup visa schemes have been launched throughout the EU,
some Member States have been successful in attracting foreign founders
without a specific startup visa scheme. The discussions will aim to investigate
weather startup visas are needed at all and what are the alternatives in
attracting the right talent.
Marketa Havlova, CzechInvest, Czech Republic
Gregor Forschbach, Ministry of Interior, Germany
Discussion is moderated by Elina Immonen, Ministy of Interior, Finland
10:00—10:20What are the expectations of Startup Founders themselves
Understanding the motivations and needs of foreign founders themselves is
critical for devising successful policies. We will hear from startups that have
arrived to the EU with startup schemes, what has been their experience, have
startup visa schemes really been relevant and what could be done better.
Avijit Sarkar, CapOne Research, Estonia
Shaun Deanesh, Slo Varmen, Estonia
Kwun Lok Ng, Samplify, Estonia
Discussion is moderated by Lauren Proctor, Jobbatical, Estonia.
10:20—10:35Coffee break
10:35—11:35The concept of Global Resource Attraction: How to attract startups.
Insights from Startup Genome
What makes a region attractive for startups and entrepreneurs? Which
European cities manage to attract these important resources today? How can
the concept of Global Resource Attraction help policymakers in devising
successful policies?
Workshop is run by Marc Penzel and Tilman Wiewinner, Startup Genome
11:35—12:05What is there to gain from startup mobility
Member States compete with each other in attracting talent. Should countries
limit the mobility of startups or could we find ways in which Europe as a whole
could benefit from this type of brain circulation through these European hubs?
Laura Corrado, European Commission
Mari Vavulski, Startup Estonia, Estonia
Riina Einberg, Taxify, Estonia
Discussion is moderated by Aleksander Tõnnisson, Buildit Accelerator of Hardware Startups
12:25—12:40Workshop conclusions
12:40—12:50Closing remarks