In March 2019, the European Startup community attended the Startup Europe Summit, hosted in Cluj- Napoca, Romania. As an active member of the software development supplier community from Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania region from Romania, SOFTECH representatives attended the summit. The impressive line-up of 100 speakers gathered about 1100 participants from Europe and not only. With over 22 side events taking part in Cluj-Napoca on the occasion of the StartUp Europe Summit 2019, all foreign guests  could feel the emphasis put by the organizers on the importance of Eastern Europe in the future European StartUp landscape.

About The Summit

The Startup Europe Summit 2019 was hosted by the Romanian Presidency of the European Council of the European Union and was held in the city of Cluj-Napoca, in Transylvania region. Responsibles for the organisation of the event were the DG CONNECT and the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca teams.

The main goal was to bring together the leading players in technology entrepreneurship and innovation from Central and Eastern Europe  and the key actors in innovation ecosystems from Western Europe.

The key topics of the event covered the main challenges of the European startup ecosystem.

The main event was accompanied by an innovation Expo, Business networking events and +22 side events – as for example the International Exhibition of Research, Innovations and Inventions PRO INVENT 2019.

StartUp Europe Summit 2019 – The Conclusions and The Key Points to Follow

Of outmost importance are the conclusions and takeaways of StartUp Europe Summit 2019 held in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania (Romania). According to the StartUp Europe Summit 2019 After-Event Report, we counted seven key elements to note and act upon.

Scaleup Challenges

From the startup perspective, there were two main challenges revealed during the StartUp Europe Summit 2019: the talent availability and the regulatory obstacles.

  • As a small player on the global software development market, SOFTECH team aligns to the governing thgought that talent should be carefully trained, retained and attracted. As for the general regulations affecting the startup environment, even if passed this level, we are ready to contribute with our best thinking.

 Women in Tech

During the Summit in Cluj-Napoca, the importance of gender diversity as a competitiveness tool for both startups and mature companies came out from various directions. The presence of women in the startup environment and namely in the digital landscape was discovered to face 6 main challenges: inclusive education, targetted communication, the existence of role models, customized specialization, corporate trainings and the support for maternity leave.

  • At SOFTECH from Cluj-Napoca, we have tried to adress the women in tech challenge by recruiting from early stages female software engineers and informaticians. Currently we have around 30% women collegaues in our software team.

StartUp Cities

The debate around the StartUp cities that has been developed during the StartUp Europe Summit 2019 in Cluj-Napoca launched a set of 4 key strategies to be taken into account: talent retention in the secondary startup hubs, focus on becoming a StartUp City not a Smart City, empower key specializations in the region, enhancing collaboration between muncipalities, industry clusters and academia.

  • As a local member of the local IT community, SOFTECH team has been fostering collaboration inside and outside the clusters. Our Mentoring Program is an example of investment in talent retention, cooperation with the local elite universities and specialized departments. More companies are focusing on the same key aspects, therefore we belive to be on the correct path.

Tech Diaspora

An important moment was the launch of European Tech Diasporas Network during the event. Eastern Europe was literally brain-drained for many decades, especially in the tech industry. Diaspora is not set to come back but is set to help co-nationals form back home. A few strategies have been noted: engaing international diaspora, set up collaborations with the tech diaspora, fostering interactions between multiple nationalities, contacting technology hubs all around the world.

  • Genuinely, probably each company from Cluj-Napoca has contacts with the diaspora. We salute this initiative of the European Tech Diasporas Network – it should provide more network effectiveness and intentionality.

Artificial Intelligence

Yes. AI is THE keyword for the new efficiency and competitivenes. During the StartUp Europe Summit 2019 in Cluj-Napoca an emphasis on AI brought forth 4 essential strategies: scaling on AI applications, fostering public-private investment in AI, promoting the cooperation between academia and corporations, establishing new AI related regulations and citizen data protection.

  • Since SOFTECH team is one of the many pioneers tackling the world of AI application development from Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, we aknowledge the power of AI algorythms and its impact in the future society. We salute the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence initiative to release the Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI and are looking forward to the safe development of AI applications and systems.

Policy Recommendations

The final conclusions of StartUp Europe Summit 2019 in Cluj-Napoca the were wrapped up in 11 key Policy Recommendations. These cover 7 essential areas: definition of a startup, Government-Startup collaboration, education, talent retention, Future of Work, Legal and Investment.

 Europe StartUpAwards

StartUp Europe Summit 2019 in Cluj-Napoca was also an occasion to celebrate outstanding achievements. This is important for it provides a few role models for the following categories: best female-led startup, best founder under30 startup, best UN Sustainable Development Goals startup, best social inclusion startup and best job growth startup.

As to conclude, we are happy to see that Cluj-Napoca software and IT community is hosting important European events. It definetely puts the city of Cluj-Napoca on the European map of tech and startup nests.