Innovation needs a favorable environment if it is to bloom. This includes access to knowledge, risk-tolerant funding and the right to make mistakes. Entrepreneurs often say they do not need support from the government, what they ask for is for the government not to interfere and allow them to innovate.
The creation of an innovation-friendly environment, however, does need some steps from policy makers. Policy intervention is needed in the areas where market failures are observed – in particular, at the stages of performing fundamental and applied research in deep tech areas, from which innovative companies source the advanced expertise.
A framework for the operation of crowdfunding, business angels and venture capital needs to be introduced that defends both investors and start-ups. Regulatory sandboxes (a controlled environment in which innovations in financial technology can take place while providing safeguards to manage risks and allowing players to experiment with innovative financial product and services) are created to check how new technologies like blockchain and autonomous vehicles can be used to satisfy customer needs without exposing them to risks. The defence of intellectual property rights needs an institutional framework that is harmonised with the world system.
Aligning basic terms and learning from best EU practices, tools and regulatory approaches will allow businesses from the Eastern Neighborhood countries and EU countries to work on similar rules and facilitate the flow of European risk investments into Eastern partner countries.
The EU4Digital ICT Innovation stream developed policy recommendations in five ICT Innovation policy areas prioritised by the Eastern partner countries:
- Intellectual property rights management for digital innovations.
- New organisational forms for supporting ICT Innovation.
- Digitising industry (digital transformation of SMEs in traditional sectors).
- Digital innovation SMEs’ access to finance.
- ICT innovation ecosystems for start-ups and scale-ups.