Importing Innovation? the “Startup Visa” and the Eu's Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan

Saturday, April 16, 2016
Assembly A (DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia Center City)
Natalie Marie Novick , Sociology, University of California -- San Diego
Levels of business development have long lagged behind in Europe. However, in the wake of economic crisis, the EU has looked towards entrepreneurship as a way to let Europe’s young people rewrite their futures and create the jobs of tomorrow. While the European Commission has committed millions of Euros towards entrepreneurship development programs, some countries are looking outside their borders to increase levels of entrepreneurship at home. Over the past five years, a growing number of European countries have developed and passed “Startup Visa” programs, aimed at attracting foreign entrepreneurs. While entrepreneur and investor visa programs have long been used to attract high income, traditional firms, new start up programs seek to capitalize on risky, but potentially high-return, tech innovation booms to invigorate national startup climates. As Europe looks to help spur innovation and startup culture, what are the outcomes of these programs? Are these policies successful in attracting entrepreneurs and creating European jobs? Can startup visa programs contribute towards a more diverse and robust European entrepreneurial ecosystem? This paper compares Startup Visa schemes in four countries, Ireland, Italy, France and the Netherlands. While each seeks to attract early stage entrepreneurs, these programs use vastly different mechanisms to do so. We find that considerable variation between these programs, and the attractiveness of each state’s startup ecosystem contributes towards uneven outcomes of success in attracting foreign entrepreneurs. As a result, the enthusiasm for these programs to quickly produce entrepreneurial outcomes should remain limited.
  • Natalie Novick CES Draft Startup Visa Policy.pdf (893.1 kB)