Unleash Entrepreneurship and Small Businesses! In our European economies, SMEs and micro-enterprises provide around 67% of jobs. Our societies must value our entrepreneurs and make life easier for them, supporting and defending the beating heart of our economies.
What would we do first?
Create a Digital One-Stop-Shop to set up a business, automate and simplify reporting, tax files, and all other government interactions.
What’s going on?
SMEs and micro-enterprises provide around 67% of jobs in Europe, employing 93 million people in 2016. Sadly, entrepreneurs spend a significant amount of their time fighting against the hurdles of regulations and administrative burden. Despite being at the forefront of innovation, only three European countries rank among the top 10 countries for “ease of doing business”. Europe as a whole is ranked 30/190. Overall SMEs are recovering after the financial crisis, however, the grade of recovery differs significantly among Member States and sectors.
What’s our vision?
We will unleash the potential of entrepreneurs and SMEs, to enable them to be competitive and show the youth the potential of entrepreneurship! We will make it as easy and convenient as possible to start a business, by ensuring adequate and easily accessible advice, shortening the time to set up a business and create simple access to financing. Entrepreneurship has to be open for all. The public administration needs to provide a safe and clear path toward entrepreneurial success, but should never be a burden preventing companies from taking off. We envision a business environment that gives second chances to entrepreneurs whose business failed and is socially responsible towards its employees.
How do we get there?
1. Create a Digital One-Stop-Shop to set up a business, automate and simplify reporting, tax files, and all other government interactions. Volt Europa will cut red tape in the European Union in order to ensure that it is as easy as possible to do national as well as cross-border business to really benefit from the size of the Single Market and scale quickly. We want to increase the range of services of “Points of single contact” provided to enterprises through digital platforms, resulting in: (a) Simplified points of contact with public administration in national governments by creating an adequate platform that is easy to handle and offers solutions for companies operating on a national as well as cross-border level and (b) The diffusion of a One-Stop-Shop system to facilitate and control taxation reporting: Volt Europa will push for digitisation and automation of balance sheets and reporting systems as well as all other government interaction.
2. Encourage harmonization of registration fees, times and processes for setting up a business across Europe - create a company for 1 € within 3 working days with an additional cost of max. 1,000 € (for licences etc.) all over Europe! Establishing a company needs to be equally easy and affordable throughout EU member states. All registration steps have to be feasible online (see Digital One-Stop-Shop above). Some economies with the fastest business start-up offer electronic registration and we think this should be available to all EU member states.
3. Start a business completely bureaucracy and paper free (for micro-enterprises in sectors not needing a licence): An entrepreneur must be able to start a small business by only notifying the authorities and not by asking for a permission. Of course all legal requirements for the latter must be met.
4. Implement a network of European incubators with advisory roles and matchmaking competencies. This measure will build on the European business and Innovation network and the Start-up Europe Club. (a) Those incubators will provide knowledge sharing for SMEs/start-ups doing business Europe-wide or on a national level (e.g. guides and assistance on regulations and procedures to start business activities, information on taxes and social security system, financial and legal advice). (b) One additional competence focusing on already established businesses will be matchmaking between existing SMEs and start-ups by proposing a EU network responsible for the simplification and development and growth of EU enterprises supervised.
6. Bridge Structural Funding Gaps. States need to thoroughly assess structural investment gaps in the economies’ growth process, and find innovative means to bridge these gaps by creating incentives for investors (e.g. public-private partnerships, co-investment funds, financial toolkit for start-ups, centralized platforms for funding, matching investors and start-ups, European Investment Bank support).
7. Promote venture capital investments. Set tax incentives for investors in order to make venture capital investment, the participation in business angel networks or funds, or even SMEs listed on the stock exchange more appealing. Tax relief for capital gains or the provision of loss relief on a more favourable basis than the baseline tax system could support the derisking of investments in young, growing and innovative businesses. Those tax incentives should be regularly monitored and evaluated in order to reform them or to design new ones.
8. Give second chances to entrepreneurs. Volt Europa wants to encourage honest entrepreneurs who failed to continue doing business, so they can apply their previously acquired knowledge. A decisive distinction must be made between honest and dishonest bankruptcies, with special bankruptcy and discharge procedures for honest entrepreneurs (e.g. faster and less expensive bankruptcy procedures or a shorter time of negative rating). On the other hand the creditor’s interests have to be protected and the bankruptcy process has to be simple and as quick as possible for investors. We propose the maximal duration to be of 2 to 3 years, depending on the size of the corporations and on the assets that need to be sold (i.e. efficient secondary market or not). In this way the "loss given default" (which is a core metric used to evaluate the creditworthiness of a corporation) decreases and thus the probability to receive credit in the system increases.