The biggest social media players are from US. Europe is clearly underrepresented. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Youtube, Twitter are just examples of this gap. About two thirds of the major web 2.0 applications are provided by US companies. In terms of traffic ranking, if we look at the top five sites, there is an overwhelming dominance of US sites within these top one. There is a particular worry on US dominance of the web industry and to what extent the “winner takes all” model will prevent the growth of other competitors even in other niches of the web ecosystem.
Still there are EU players but just not growing fast enough. Recently, young EU companies have emerged, and Europe has become a more and more fertile place for technology companies (e.g Spotify, Playfish, Skype etc.).But still..
Let’s explore why!
• How relevant is the problem of insufficient early funding and VC funding for new social media related business ideas in Europe? And for growth? how can it be solved?
• What are the main features of the EU regulatory environment that may affect negatively the creation and growth of EU web enterprises? What is the impact, specifically, of the data protection Directive (currently under review, and under considerable criticism)? Has it become a substantial barrier against innovation such as the diffusion of open data on the Web?
• Are Universities and higher education institutions promoting entrepreneurial culture and providing sufficient incentives to researchers for developing business ideas in the web and mobile environment?
• How to encourage a virtuous innovation cycle in the EU social media industry by promoting better cooperation dynamics between stakeholders providing funding, enterpreneurs, research organizations and large industries?
• How to remove the barriers currently reducing innovative SMEs participation to EU-funded Research Programmes? Are there specific incentives-measures which could be taken to target Web or mobile-based businesses?