Record-high unemployment rates and government support necessary for the survival of some of the largest companies across the globe: this is our new reality. We have reached a watershed, and how we respond to the current economic crisis will likely define Europe’s successful recovery and long-term competitiveness. I believe that tackling the challenges of climate change and digitalization will be two of the key factors in achieving a sustainable recovery and enduring prosperity.
Green technologies can create the sought-after products of tomorrow and transform entire industries. They will also be instrumental in achieving Europe’s ambition to become the first climate-neutral continent. However, many of the most promising new technologies are just coming out of the lab, and it may be difficult for growth companies to commercialize their innovations as they face our collective new reality.
Europe has a history of industrial excellence, but funding and scaling green technology companies remains a challenge due to market fragmentation and limited investor experience with the type of investments that are needed. The World Economic Forum’s Digital Leaders of Europe community, comprised of founders, investors, corporate executives and policymakers, identified innovation funding as one of the key issues for European companies in the “2019 Innovate Europe” report. Its most recent report “Bridging the Gap in European Scale-Up Funding: The Green Imperative in an Unprecedented Time”, produced in collaboration with KPMG Private Enterprise, notes that it has been necessary for high-potential European growth companies to seek out foreign investors to fill the gap left by European investors. However, the fundamentals are strong in Europe, and the report recommends four opportunities to support and sustain the scaling up of European technology in a new reality environment.