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Time to rethink the way we do business and re-strategise I Laura Lecci, CEO of EBN

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Amid the still-unfolding impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing unrest on European territories and the effects of climate change, innovation systems change is no longer a buzzword. It is an urgent call to action for the business community.

At EBN, we believe that the next era of entrepreneurship is about raising the bar, levelling the playing field, expanding participation and scaling the networks of social, financial and knowledge capital that provide the foundation for successful and sustainable start-ups and scalable businesses”

Laura Lecci, EBN’s CEO in the Foreword of the Technical Note 11

Our work in the field and most recently in the Better Incubation project makes it clear: Business support organisations are able to, need to, and fortunately already do expand their scope and increase their role towards inclusive and impactful entrepreneurship.
The Better Incubation project outcomes provide members of the EU|BIC community critical hands-on tools to capacity-building and support services offered to innovative SMEs taking up the call to deliver in the sustainable transition.

Besides the imperative moral reasons, leading consulting and institutional studies have widely set out the business case. Listed among the top reasons to release the untapped potential of social and inclusive entrepreneurship are a) to attract and retain the best
talent; b) to better serve consumer markets, including those in which UREs are the main customers; c) to enhance diversity and improve overall performance in the workplace and economy, and d) to address future demographic change. Specifically, for (partially) public funded BSOs this market opportunity can be a driver to increase profits and become more self-sustainable enterprises – independent from public funding.

Excitingly I can acknowledge that EBN and the EU|BIC community now have the tools to meet the needs of this point in time. Yet, growth is far from meaningful unless it comes with integrity. Businesses, governments, innovators, and the people they work with are drawn closer to the EU|BIC community because they are looking for a better way: one that looks for sustainable growth; that puts people and the planet first and at the heart of innovation; and that holds continuous improvements, learnings, and accountability at heart when it comes to creating high standards for business and innovation performance. As the EU|BIC community continues to grow, we stay committed to these core values and include the lessons of the Better Incubation project in our fundamentals.

From establishing our standards for better innovative businesses; to advocating for excellent support actors to be included in innovation legislation; to building a pan-European, global movement of people committed to using breakthrough innovation bolstering regional, sustainable economic development; to witnessing its resilience through a global pandemic, we have always been doing this work together, reactive to what matters while keeping an eye on long-term innovation systems change.

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