In Brussels, Global Innovation Forum Launches New Report Outlining the Role of European Startups in the Global Marketplace

Jul 15, 2015

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Today, at a roundtable with entrepreneurs and policymakers in Brussels, the National Foreign Trade Council’s Global Innovation Forum (GIF) released a new report, European Startups: Global from the Get-Go, which examines how European startups have the opportunity to become global brands from Day One in the digital age.

Through profiles of 10 entrepreneurs across Europe – from the founder of a digital sheet music platform in Belgium to an online custom suit maker in Bulgaria – the report highlights the global opportunities for European startups and small businesses to be global from their launch.

Innovators also identify and suggest how to address policy issues that impact their ability to do business, including: customs and value-added taxes; compliance with foreign regulations; cultural and language challenges; access to the global Internet, and payments and currency.

“Digital technologies are enabling unparalleled access to the global marketplace, but entrepreneurs emphasize that an opportunity exists to facilitate their global journeys further and improve prospects for more communities in Europe and around the world,” the report concludes.

“Entrepreneurs suggest that governments have an important role to play in supporting access to the global marketplace and removing the remaining pain points that they identified. They stress that policymakers can craft rules to lessen friction by lowering tariffs where they exist, improve access to global services, financing and digital platforms, develop better visa and immigration processes, guarantee reliable access to the global Internet, simplify customs procedures, and make more information more easily available and understandable.”

Executive Director of the Global Innovation Forum Jake Colvin released the new report in Brussels during a discussion and luncheon co-hosted by Allied for Startups, and on “Global From the Get-Go.”

The event featured remarks by The Honorable Kaja Kallas, Member of European Parliament, and Member of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee.  Leen Segers, Chief Operating Officer at, moderated a discussion among several entrepreneurs profiled in the report – Johanna Pangestian Harahap, Co-Founder of Munich-based e-commerce shop Nauli; Justo Hidalgo, Co-Founder of online book marketplace 24symbols, based in Spain; and Bart Van der Roost, Founder and CEO of the Belgium-based digital sheet music service neoScores.

In addition to the Brussels launch, the Global Innovation Forum is hosting private salon dinners in London with TechUK and Coadec, in Paris with TheFamily and Afdel, and with the German Startups Association to discuss the findings with entrepreneurs, corporations and government officials.

Contact Jake Colvin, Executive Director of the Global Innovation Forum, at for more information.


 About the Global Innovation Forum

The Global Innovation Forum connects entrepreneur, nonprofit and university communities with corporations and government officials to explore the opportunities and challenges of engaging in the global marketplace. Through public forums, private workshops and online platforms, GIF elevates the global opportunity that exists, explores challenges to participating effectively in international markets and works to improve the public policy landscape to benefit a broad range of global innovators. GIF is a project of the National Foreign Trade Council Foundation. For more information, visit