The challenge is huge. With the support of the European Parliament and prestigious sponsors, Karima Delli, The Boston Consulting Group and Via ID launched European Startup Prize for mobility on 7 December. This initiative combines startups’ creativity, with the strength of the European institutions and their private partners in order to imagine the future of mobility of goods and people.

It is 6.30pm, this Thursday, December 7th. In a small salon, Karima Delli stays focus and reads her notes. The MEP and Chair of the Transport and Tourism Committee and founder of the prize will launch the European Startup Prize in a few minutes, in front of some 200 guests and partners.

A prize as close as possible to the concerns of Europeans

On average, a European spends 2 hours a day on transport. More than 6 out of 10 Europeans use the car every day … and are often stuck in traffic jams. Traffic jams that slow down activity and cost 275 euros per citizen: almost 1% of the total GDP of the European Union! “We don’t have a choice anymore, it’s an emergency, the world needs to change,” says Karima Delli.

The MEP puts forward a shock figure: air pollution causes the untimely death of 500,000 people per year in Europe. “This award is more than a diploma or a piece of paper. It’s a real change, “she says.

The European market: a 110m hurdles

Europe is a great opportunity for a startup. The Old Continent brings together talent, excellent research, infrastructure, good public services and good universities.

Frédéric Mazzella, founder and CEO of BlaBlaCar and sponsor of the award, is not mistaken: “The playground is huge for mobility in Europe. Everything is there: big cities, large urban spaces close to the rural world. The new mobility has yet to be invented.

Guests and partners all agree on one point: the complexity of the European market. A heterogeneous market, complicated to tackle with different needs and modes of consumption. A market that requires constant adaptation to different regulations, market sizes, consumer habits or taxation.

There is not really a European market. Truth be told, there are 28 legislations and a cruel lack of standardization. It can be complicated for a startup that is just starting. Being in competition with an Asian or American startup is a bit like running a 110m hurdles when your competitor runs a 100m, “says Frédéric Mazella. Jean-François Dhinaux, Director of strategic marketing and synergies at Via ID confirms: “We must consider Europe as a playground. But we should not think small, we have to think differently!

Frédéric Mazzella

Support and coach the winners

10 selected startups will go on a European tour (Paris, Berlin, Tallinn, Copenhagen, Barcelona) to participate in major European tech events. Meeting with public and private decision makers, investors, experts: the boost is far from being negligible.

To meet this lack of standardization of the European market, the 4 winners will also follow a personalized 4-month business and legal coaching program. It is notably Simona Frazzani, from the law firm Grimaldi, who will lead this essential support. “Before you start, it’s important to study where you can go. It is necessary to look at the laws, the contentious, the position of the State on this or that sector. It is important to evaluate the risks, “she explains.

50% of European startups have not yet passed the first stage of development. European Startup Prize wants to help them.

Witch selection criteria?

The jury comprises 10 experts, such as the entrepreneur Gilles Babinet or Kadri Simson, the Estonian Minister for the economy, who will make their choice according to several selection criteria: mainly the startup’s will to develop in Europe and to put the innovation at the service of cleaner and more inclusive mobility. The goal of the startup: revolutionize the world of mobility

The jury has obviously not yet made its choice but 2 categories of startups should be selected: 2 senior startups (which have already proven their potential and who are at the beginning of the Europeanization of their development) and 2 juniors (which begin their development and are interested in the European market).

The support of the European Union

 European Startup Prize for mobility is sponsored by the European Parliament and the European Commission. Andrus Ansip, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Single Digital Market was present at the launch party.

In his speech, he highlights a reality: “Cities spend every year crazy amounts of money in mobility. Yet today we still see buses running empty. Why? Why not use carpooling for example?” Andrus Ansip came to this launch party with a car-sharing app Wayzup.

Andrus Ansip, “data is key for startups”

After highlighting the important role of startups in the European economy, he reminds that the European Commission works on two important leverage: open data and public markets. “Startups should soon be fully integrated into public procurement processes,” he says. The eyes of Karima Delli sparkle. She jumps at the opportunity: “Careful, we heard you well!

The calendar

Startups wishing to participate in this European Start Up Prize for Mobility are invited to submit their application on the startupprize.eu website until 8 January. Awards ceremony will take place on 22nd February in Brussels with pitch session  for the 10 selected startups  and the announcement of the 4 laureates.

European Startup Prize Team

 

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