‘How to improve the investment horizons of European business’, panels hosted by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey TOBB on Wednesday, 30 November 2016
Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland
Teresa Cunha, Senior Advisor, Europe Unlimited
Ben Butters, Policy Director, EUROCHAMBRES
Lúcio Mauro Vinhas de Souza, Team Leader of Economics Team, EPSC, EC
Arnaldo Abruzzini, CEO, EUROCHAMBRES
Prof. Colin Mason, University of Glasgow
Nadira Azermai, Founder & CEO, ScriptBook NV
Vincent Jocquet, VP Finance & Operations, Sentiance
Gaëlle Saint-Drenant, Chef de projet Financement des entreprises, CCI Pays de la Loire
Marijke van der Veen, Business Intelligence, Kamer van Koophandel
Europe’s economic situation will not change significantly in 2017 and will even enjoy moderate growth, according to a new survey by EUROCHAMBRES. At an InvestWeek 2016 event in Brussels, business experts and entrepreneurs examined some of today’s challenges and solutions to boosting European business.
For most European business indicators, from domestic and export sales to investment and employment, the outlook for 2017 is positive.
Business confidence across Europe remains fragile, due to the uncertain geopolitical situation within and beyond the continent — policymakers must take more action.
European companies say the main challenges are domestic demand, economic policy conditions, labour costs and a lack of skilled workers.
The event’s first panel revealed the results of the 2017 EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey. Most of the 50,000 European companies interviewed are moderately optimistic about the coming year, despite slow economic growth and international tensions. Europe’s priority now should be single market completion said Arnaldo Abruzzini of EUROCHAMBRES and Lúcio Mauro Vinhas de Souza of EPSC. Both agreed it is the EU’s greatest asset, before praising major new EU initiatives such as the Capital Markets Union and Banking Union.
In the second panel, ‘InvestHorizon — how to improve investment readiness of European business’, Prof. Colin Mason explored the challenges for entrepreneurs when raising funds. One solution is to focus less on their pitch and more on the market, product and so on. Good investment readiness programmes can address these areas. According to Teresa Cunha of Europe Unlimited, such programmes should focus on improving skills, increasing transparency, supporting access to market, developing leadership capacity and boosting peer-to-peer collaboration. The debate featured two young entrepreneurs. Nadira Azermai, founder and CEO of ScriptBook, knew nothing about raising finance until she did it herself: ‘Start-ups should be told this can be brutal: it took me seven long months, alongside running my software business.’ Sentiance started with business angel funding before tapping into venture capital. Vincent Joquet reckons VCs are the best headhunters for an entrepreneur, as they can call on their experience and networks.
Advisory services for business were debated in the final panel. Gaëlle Saint-Drenant, an advisor at CCI Pays de Loire, France talked about her region’s new coaching programme for entrepreneurs. ‘It focuses on business issues and the pitch, plus the technical side of raising funds,’ she said. Her Dutch colleague, Marijke van der Veen of the Kamer van Koophandel, noted that many small firms in her country have low financial literacy. Few even know they need to raise funds to grow and thrive. So her organisation offers them basic information on fund-raising plus personal support. ‘Finance is not just about finding money: entrepreneurs also need to track down opportunities and mentors,’ she concluded.