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Web Start-up Challenge: Q&A with European Commission

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Our Web Start-up Challenge is off to a flying start, with inspirations added from all over the world to help us learn about entrepreneurship, online technologies, and the business climate in Europe. To get a bit more behind-the-scenes insight on our challenge, we caught up with Isidro Laso Ballesteros, principal administrator at the European Commission.
For folks who might not know, what is the European Commission's Digital Agenda Assembly?
First, let's start with the European Commission (EC). The EC is one of the main institutions in the European Union. The EC acts on behalf of the European Union by proposing new laws, managing the EU's budget, enforcing EU laws, and representing the EU internationally (for example, in negotiations between the EU and other countries). The Digital Data Assembly is the biggest event organised by the EC and it focuses on our Digital Agenda for Europe. You can learn more about some of our current digital initiatives here.
How can innovation and design help the European Commission take a fresh look at Europe's web start-up scene?
As we mentioned in the challenge brief, Europe has many online entrepreneurial success stories to celebrate. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for continued innovation. As our world becomes more interconnected, it's important that Europe continues to support the development and growth of new online businesses. To do this, we might first assume that the only people who know about web start-ups are web entrepreneurs themselves. However, as we're seeing with this challenge, there are people from around the world who have opinions, insights and ideas to share with us. We are open to listening to you and enacting your suggestions where we can.
What excites you most about this OpenIDEO challenge?
This is the first time the EC has ever crowd sourced a new policy initiative. It is an experiment for us, and our entire team is excited about the number of inspirations we have received, as well as the richness of the community's conversations. We keep an eye on all of them, and I am certainly learning a lot more about what the European entrepreneurial landscape looks like.
What is happening at the Digital Agenda Assembly in Brussels in June, and how will some of the Web Start-up Challenge concepts be showcased there?
The purpose of the Digital Agenda Assembly is to take stock of our progress and launch new digital-related initiatives after consultation with our stakeholders. It gathers decision makers from EU institutions (commissioners, members of the EU partliament, EU officers, etc), from Member States, regions, private organisations and digital entrepreneurs.
At this year's Assembly there will be one workshop where concepts from this OpenIDEO challenge will be showcased and discussed. Not only will your ideas inspire our conversation, but if enough attendees are excited about certain concepts, there's a good chance those concepts will inform and be included in our upcoming initiatives.
That's great news to hear, Isidro! Cheers for your update. Now it's time to head back over to our challenge to chime in with your thoughts and insights.
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Great idea to bring grassroots people into the digital assembly in this way. Kudos.