With unemployment reaching record highs in Europe, Millennials are finding opportunity in adversity by launching startups.
With unemployment reaching record highs in Europe, more and more ambitious Millennials are finding opportunity in adversity by launching startups. This entrepreneurial mindset—a manifestation of one of our 10 Trends for 2012, Generation Go—is also giving rise to fledgling tech hubs around Europe.
“Five years ago, ‘start-up’ was a non-word,” the vice president of the nonprofit Hellenic Start-Up Association recently told the BBC. The group, founded about a year ago, now has more than 1,000 members. Successful startups include BugSense, a service that tracks mobile-app bugs in real time; Taxibeat, an app that lets people select cabs; and iMellon, an Android app developer. Other savvy entrepreneurs have been opening coworking spaces like coLab, which houses 16 startups and intends to open two more locations, according to The New York Times.
In Spain, twenty- and thirtysomethings have established some of Europe’s leading tech startups, including Trovit (a classified-ad search engine), ReviewPro (a customer intelligence tool for hotels) and Busuu (a language-learning tool). These startups are expanding beyond Spain’s borders—growth that has companies vying for engineers and other technical staff. But with salaries in Spain relatively low, the companies have a built-in cost advantage, as noted in The FT.
In Central Europe, Hungary is becoming a center of innovation, giving birth to businesses including the live-streaming service Ustream and LogMeIn, which provides remote access to desktop users. The JEREMIE European Investment Fund, distributed by the EU and the Hungarian government, reportedly disbursed $52 million last year to 44 companies, a number that’s expected to double in 2012. As one young tech executive told The New York Times, “I think my generation in eastern Europe is a special group. … We believe in change.”
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