ESI releases the Startup Heatmap Europe Report

The European Startup Initiative has released its Startup Heatmap Europe report highlighting interesting areas, including the fact that choosing a location of a startup’s headquarters is one of the most important factors to define its future success, especially at the very beginning of its existence.

Mobility seems to be a crucial factor of success for startup founders. The report, published by the European Startup Initiative (ESI), a volunteer-based non-profit organization, supported by the Allianz Cultural Foundation, confirms that an astonishing 23% of the survey participants founded their business in a country that is not their origin. Among this group, most have also left their home region (85%). Home region means a regional group of countries in Europe, such as the Baltics.

Relocating to another sub-region (for example a move from Eastern to Western Europe) requires, without a doubt, the highest willingness of a startup founder to move and 19.9% of the startup founders were willing to do so. An impressive 85% of those who moved outside their country also left their broader home region. The report highlights that 9.9% of these movers were women, compared to 90.1% men.

Even though startup founders are far more likely to move than the average EU citizen, the reasons to move or to stay are also complex for entrepreneurs. Apparently, deciding to move is easier for male founders. Surprisingly, founders in industries that require more engineering like Big Data, Hardware, IoT, Health a, d BioTech are more likely to move. Internet-based startups focusing on e-commerce and consumer applications rather tend to stay at home.


Fighting for entrepreneurial talent

Since startup founders are far more likely to move to another country (and even to another region) than normal citizens, Europe’s startup hubs are fiercely competing to attract highly mobile talents. The results seem to confirm the common expectation that the strong economies in the North and West are able to attract foreign talent, while the Southern and Eastern regions have a negative migration balance.

The strongest region in terms of startup migration is the Baltics with a 14% net inflow. The Mediterranean (-2%) and CEE (-3%) export the most founders. On the country level, the Netherlands stands out with a 31% inflow. An alarming sign comes from Italy, where the net loss of founders is staggering high at -29%.


Borders are not stoping founders from moving

The massive movement of founders across Europe has already created a fierce competition for entrepreneurial talent among regions and startup hubs.

While a simplistic view of startup Europe’s topography might suggest that each region has one champion reigning as the regional hub, the report suggests that there are several strong contenders in almost every region. Moreover, the competition does not only take place within regions, since country or sub-regional borders do not stop founders from moving anymore.

In fact, 85% of mobility takes place across regions. That is why startup hubs need to compete not only with regional competitors but also with competitors all over Europe who might have a similar profile.

Download the report for free to get more information.

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