Good news: European start-ups are interested in politics. More than 30 reference contractors have just made a call to the elected representatives of the Old Continent: "Europe must attract more talents in its start-ups," they say in an open letter entitled "Not Optional". On the basis of an observation: "The limited availability of talent (…) is a serious obstacle to growth. That's why we, the founders and leaders of Europe's leading technology companies, are now urging policy makers to put talent at the top of their agenda. "
It lacks 100'000 talents, not counting the start-up to be born
The starting point of the letter is first positive: Europe's tech has never been stronger, and it has the means to compete with Silicon Valley. "We do not lack ambition or capital," say the entrepreneurs. "Europe could be the most entrepreneurial continent in the world, but the limited availability of talent to feed and feed its burgeoning start-up ecosystem is a serious impediment to growth." They are quantifying the current needs to 100,000 additional employees, not to mention the unborn companies. But they denounce a major obstacle: a discouraging legislation. "Without further ado, we call on lawmakers to correct the uneven, inconsistent and often punitive rules that govern employee ownership."
The problem: punitive regulation for options
The famous employee participation plans, which are essential for a start-up that can not compete with the salaries of multinationals or certain SMEs. European legislation is dissuasive. Even punitive for these plans: "Some are so punitive that they put our start-ups at a disadvantage compared to companies in Silicon Valley, with whom we compete for the best designers, developers, product managers, or others," denounce the petitioners. Before sounding the alarm: "If we do not act, we could see a flight of the best and brightest brains in Europe".
Switzerland, a bad student (whatever the administration says)
Switzerland is singled out as a bad student. In the category "Ripe for change", in 15th place in a ranking by Index Ventures published yesterday, the Geneva-based venture capital fund that drives this operation. A ranking that is timely: the Parliament has just asked the Federal Council to simplify employee participation plans. Against his will: in response to the motion, in May 2017, the Federal Council believes that there is, I quote, "no reason to take action" in this area, and that "under the principle of equal treatment, the options of employees should not benefit from any particular advantage. No comment.
Europe takes the risk of an incredible waste
The Federal Council, whether it likes it or not, will have to work on a change in our rules in this area. The letter from the CEOs is therefore timely, as it proposes six tracks for regulation and taxation encouraging participation plans. The federal government can and must be inspired by it. We will take care of it: this central point is part of the Manifesto that we do, we also sign online. As the start-up bosses conclude: "If we do not solve the talent shortage, we run the risk of wasting the incredible momentum that European technology has created in recent years. The next Google, Amazon or Netflix could come from Europe, but for that, the reform of the rules of employee ownership is certainly not optional. Not optional.
NB: The founders and CEO of start-ups can sign the letter Not Optional right here until January 7th. At the Swiss level, entrepreneurs can also sign the Manifesto for Swiss start-ups right here until the 15th of January