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FERD's List 2020: What will it take for Europe to have more tech unicorns?

21 October 2020

The first webinar to celebrate the FERD’s List 2020 on 21 October featured three inspirational JA Alumni: Joonas Ahola, Founder & CEO of MeetingPackage; Todor Gigilev, CEO of Dreamix; and Manouchehr Shamsrizi, Founder & CEO of RetroBrain. Moderated by Johan Andresen, Owner & Chairman FERD and Salvatore Nigro, CEO JA Europe, they discussed how Europe could have more tech unicorns. Brynhild Vinskei, Head of Global Marketing at EPOSand 2018 FERD’s List Honouree also participated in the discussion.

The importance of hands-on entrepreneurial experiences in school was emphasized by several speakers, as the JA programmes allow young people to start dreaming and have innovative ideas. Joonas Ahola praised the Finnish start-up ecosystem with influential companies like Super Cell that inspire and support other tech entrepreneurs, and the annual Slush event in Helsinki that brings entrepreneurs from all over the world for investment.

Todor Gigilev stressed the importance of Bulgaria’s EU membership: the Soviet heritage has been helpful for science and technology development, but a marketing mindset was lacking in the Eastern part of Europe prior to its integration into the Union. Manouchechr agreed with the importance of the EU Single Market for the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), especially in future markets like healthcare and energy where integration is important.

Regarding the education system, the participants in the webinar agreed that entrepreneurial programmes should not be seen in competition with other subjects but more as a complement to the learning path of students. Making an impact at early age students, and not waiting until they have chosen a career path in University, is vital to scale up European start-ups and getting a more diverse base of company founders and entrepreneurs.

But Junior Achievement cannot do it alone; we need we need collaboration between stakeholders in the entrepreneurship education ecosystem to provide life-changing opportunities to all young Europeans. Learning from role models and sharing the experiences of founders across the continent is key to fostering more young entrepreneurs in these critical times. 

In case you missed it, watch the full webinar here!

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