Attracting and retaining foreign startup founders in the EU (EMN Inform)

This EMN Inform provides information on the policies and practices of Member States to attract and retain foreign startup founders.


During the EMN Annual Conference in Estonia on 'The EU in the Global Race for Talents: Challenges and Solutions in Strengthening the EU's Competitiveness' (21/22 September 2017), one workshop focused on ‘Attracting and retaining foreign startup founders’. This workshop reviewed numerous startup schemes currently in place in Europe and explored the possibilities to improve the attractiveness of the region in future.

The EMN Inform summarizes the main conclusions from this workshop (which includes the findings from the EMN ad-hoc query on start-up policies for third-country nationals).

Some findings of the Inform

  • While there currently is no EU-wide startup visa policy in place, recent years have seen a proliferation of startup schemes across Member States. 12 Member States have schemes for startup founders.
  • The common aim of startup schemes is to develop entrepreneurial ecosystems, fuel economic growth and innovation, and make the country more competitive in the globalised knowledge economy.
  • Although the admission conditions vary across Member States, having an innovative idea is a common condition to all startup schemes. Yet Member States define ‘innovation’ in different ways.
  • Member States with no special regulation for startups can also be successful in attracting foreign entrepreneurs, especially if they have a reputation for being a tech hub.
  • Measures for attracting and retaining startup founders should be part of broader efforts in fostering innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the EU.
Publication Date:
Fri 26 Jan 2018
Main theme:
Publication type: