Cambridge one of the best EU cities for digital entrepreneurs

Cambridge University

Cambridge is number 11 in Europe for digital entrepreneurs, according to a new index that measures what startups and scale-ups say is important to them.

The European Digital City Index, launched by Nesta as part of its work on the European Digital Forum, a project with the Lisbon Council to promote the digital economy, finds London top and a number of other capital cities high in the rankings. But Cambridge comes hot on their heels at number 11, followed by Madrid (12), Oxford (13), Barcelona (14) and Vienna (15).

The Index measures and ranks the EU’s capital cities and known digital innovation hubs [1] against ten criteria set by digital businesses [2], and supported by policymakers and academics. The criteria relate to a city’s ecosystem and include digital infrastructure, culture, and skills availability.

Available to search at the Index is intended to help entrepreneurs identify the strengths and weaknesses of a particular city and help policymakers understand where they need to devote more resources to make a city more attractive to digital businesses. Entrepreneurs can also personalise their search by applying more or less weight to each criteria.

The European Digital City Index reveals that London scores highest overall for startups and scale-ups [3] and specifically for access to capital, entrepreneurial culture and knowledge spillovers. Across all ten criteria its lowest score is for lifestyle which assesses standard and cost of living.

Berlin, which has produced a number of billion dollar startups, including online fashion shop Zalando and restaurant delivery service Delivery Hero, is only ranked 7th for these businesses. This is because of its expensive and relatively sluggish digital infrastructure and high cost associated with employing staff. Brussels scores higher for scale-ups because of its greater access to capital.

The European Digital City Index follows a guidebook from CITIE that assessed the policy environment of 40 leading global cities. It identified New York City as having the most effective policy environment to foster innovation with London in second place.[4]

Chris Haley, Head of Startups and New Technology Research at Nesta, comments: "Entrepreneurship, particularly digital entrepreneurship, is vitally important for innovation and growth but not all cities provide equally fertile ground for these businesses. Our research indicates that location does matter, and illustrates the ways in which top cities create a supportive environment and where lessons can be learnt."

The European Digital City Index launched at the European Commission’s ICT 2015 Innovate, Connect, Transform Conference in Lisbon yesterday (Weds).

The Index will be updated in 2016 and expanded to include more EU cities.  To read full article click here.