About the European Youth Entrepreneurship Conference

The European Youth Entrepreneurship Conference is a new instutution created by YES for Europe to help young entrepreneurs from all around Europe network, exchange ideas and best practices and make their concerns and policy suggestions heard, especially towards the European Union leadership.

The Conference, kickstarted in Athens, will be held on a biannual basis at the EU member state holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.




by YES President, Dimitris Tsigos


Over the last six years the European Union and the European ideal in general have faced their most significant challenges since their introduction in the 1950s.

When the global financial crisis that first hit the US economy came to Europe, the EU institutions were proven slow and lacking the decisiveness necessary for an effective response.

A demand for concrete solidarity arose along with the realisation of significant differences in economic and fiscal policies among the EU and the eurozone member states.

This unprecedented challenge came in a time of rapid change in the global geopolitical and economic landscape. Emerging economies keep growing at a strong pace, even challenging the ex. G7 countries in their previous strongholds of high-end products and services, while the political instability in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere creates further uncertainty.

If we want to sustain the social standards that constitute the core of the European idea, the European economy needs to become more competitive and create more jobs. The role of youth entrepreneurship in this is extremely important.

Young Entrepreneurs are very well aware that they are the actors of positive change. Young people who were born Europeans, grown up as Europeans, are now facing a conservative, populist rhetoric from older generations questioning the Europe’s achievements and proposing alternative nationalistic and separatist routes. This option has been tried in the recent history and the consequences were disastrous.

Creating a competitive economy and regaining the momentum of global business and thought leadership in Europe is the prerequisite for the economic surplus necessary to sustain and further improve the European living standards.

In this context, European Young Entrepreneurs have identified the Fragmentation Barrier as our number one challenge. We want to take advantage of the huge single European market of 500 million people and its 13 trillion euros economic output. For that to happen, however, a a truly united market is needed, something can can only happen when the fragmentation in all aspects of the European economy, from capital markets, to telecom infrastructure and IPR & data protection regulations has been overcome.

Our second challenge is the creation of a European Entrepreneurial Identity. European Young Entrepreneurs have deep respect to dominant growth models such as the “Silicon Valley” model. We are, however, convinced that the largest economy on this planet deserves its own growth model with sustainability in its core.

With those thoughts in mind, the Young Entrepreneurs of Europe are gathering in Athens, Greece, from June 26th to June 28th to connect and discuss how they can work together and collaborate with other stakeholders in the direction of Overcoming the Fragmentation Barrier and Creating the European Entrepreneurial Identity.

This will be the first of a series of events under the title “European Youth Entrepreneurship Conference” that will be taking place on a biannual basis at the EU Member State holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

In addition to an impressive line-up of keynote speakers from Europe, US, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, the Leadership Assembly of the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs will bring together European youth entrepreneurship leaders and publish the “Declaration of Athens” ― a call to action for european young entrepreneurs to promote high growth and innovative entrepreneurship to drive sustainable quality jobs creation and generation of economic surplus.

Last but not least, during the 1st European Youth Entrepreneurship Conference we will unveil the Greek Startup Manifesto, a document dealing with the actions and policy changes needed to enable innovative entrepreneurship in the EU member state most badly hit by the financial crisis. We strongly believe that startup entrepreneurship can take-off all around Europe, including in the most crisis-stricken areas, and completely change the dynamics of the European economy.

Looking forward to welcoming you in Athens and working together in igniting youth and startup entrepreneurship in Europe!

Dimitris Tsigos
YES for Europe – European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs