We believe in people that are dynamic, entrepreneurial, talented, self-motivated and dedicated. People who have bright ideas and are motivated to follow their dream.
Like Paola Marinone, a 35 year-old tech entrepreneur who saw new opportunities in the digital world and capitalised on them, creating a new profession out of her passion.
After working for more than 5 years at Google and YouTube, Paola used her experience to start up BuzzMyVideos Network, a Global Network of Online Video content creators & brands.
BuzzMyVideos supports content creators from all over the world, helping them to succeed on YouTube. Paola and her team also work with global brands and production companies to enhance their presence and rights management on YouTube.
The benefits of limited bureaucracy
It has been challenging for Paola to grow her company from zero to a company employing 11 people that is a well-established player on the digital market. Limited bureaucracy helps.
"It has made it easy to focus on business rather than anything else," she says.
Red tape is still one of the major obstacles SMEs face when trying to set up and expand their business. It has been estimated that €1.5 billion per year could be saved just by simplifying accounting rules for companies under 50 employees.
With only 50% of small and medium-sized enterprises surviving past 5 years, the EU should not be adding more costs to fledgling businesses. The REFIT programme aiming to simplify EU legislation is a welcome move, but "screening for red tape" should become the norm for any new law.
Another problem is the way EU laws get implemented into national legislation. Member States do not take advantage of all the possibilities offered by the EU to reduce bureaucracy.
Supporting creativity and responsibility
Helping European business is not about helping to line somebody's pockets. It is about helping people who start from scratch and who put their own creativity and their own ideas into action. Who understand that risk cannot go without responsibility, and creativity without hard work.
Paola puts it well: “Being an entrepreneur requires very strong passion and dedication. You need a vision and the willingness to work hard to plant the seed, grow the ideas into implementation and deliver results. You need to keep thinking how to improve yourself and the company to reach your goals. This gives you a lot of freedom to think and be creative but this also comes with a lot of responsibility for the business, your clients and of course your team.”
An Italian in the UK - working across borders
But there's another angle to Paola's story.
As an Italian working in the UK, Paola has taken advantage of many of the opportunities Europe offers to access a cross-border market – something that helps especially in the digital arena, which by its very nature is widely accessible.
“Working and studying across Europe has been extremely easy. Nearly no paperwork and good opportunities in many countries. I felt that my generation was the very first one which felt that Europe was a home that offered the freedom to choose where to be as a person and where to develop your own career and projects.”
However, expanding a business cross-border is still a challenge.
“There are still too many differences in national legislation, which doesn’t help entrepreneurs to scale internationally inside the EU. In terms of internet companies and tech start-ups there is still work to do in my opinion. Technology is a leading industry of the present and future and legislation should facilitate businesses that have a pan-European or global view,” says Paola.
We are witnessing a shift in people's mindsets. Small and medium-sized enterprises provide 2 out of 3 jobs in the private sector and account for 99% of all European businesses. Any future legislation cannot afford to ignore this fact.
This is as much about access to funding as it is about removing obstacles to creating a single European market. It can be as simple as buying a CD online anywhere in Europe or downloading a new iTune while travelling.
Spread the word: Paola’s message to the EU and its Member States
With new programmes such as COSME, which is particularly geared towards funding SMEs, and Horizon 2020, which allows SMEs to tap into Europe's R&D funds, the EU is doing more to support small businesses.
But Paola tells us something surprising - there is not enough information going out to the people that should be benefiting from the funding.
“We are a self-funded start-up and did not receive any private or financial support. We weren’t looking very much in depth, but also we didn’t notice a lot of advertising about funding in the tech world. If funds are available, I would recommend being very present where tech start-ups are, such as in the Silicon Roundabout in London or in other tech cities like Dublin, Berlin or Riga.”
*Cooperation with Paola was solely for the purposes of this article.