Connecting digital ecosystems - invitation only

Europe has a unique opportunity for strong and inclusive economic growth. No other continent can boast such a diverse group of leading nations. Moreover, at the latest count, Europe has a total of 47 unicorns (start-ups valued at over $1 billion). However, to capitalize on this requires better coordination and support between Europe’s many leading tech ecosystems.

Mindful of this, the World Economic Forum would like to create a pan-European ecosystem around entrepreneurship and innovation by connecting digital experts and start-up ecosystem builders. In this workshop, key stakeholders from the Digital Europe task force will enter into debate with experts from the European startup ecosystem, such as startup community leaders, city mayors, policy-makers and venture capitalists, to discuss technological developments and their impact on business and society.

Detailed Workshop Outline


Welcome and opening remarks

Introduced by Annika Brack, Lead, Digital Europe project, World Economic Forum
- Alexander de Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, the Digital
Agenda, Telecommunications and Postal Services of Belgium 


How to better bridge the start-up and corporate world in Europe?

Moderated by Karen Boers, Managing Director, 
- Richard Benjamins, Group Chief Data Officer & Head of the Data Innovation Lab, AXA 
- Felix Staeritz, Factor 10 GmbH 


1st Live-stream with the Annual Meeting in China

This session will be connected live twice to a parallel session at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, People’s Republic of China. This first live-stream serves to kick-off the shorter meeting in China, and to provide input from the morning discussion in Europe. Rapporteur on the Europe discussion in the morning is Eva Maydell, MEP 


Boosting European eco-systems: which resources do they need to thrive?

Facilitated by Karen Boers and the Digital Europe team, World Economic Forum
- Isidro Laso, European Commission, Startup Europe Head of Sector 
- Dr. Daria Golebiowska-Tataj, entrepreneur and member of the RISE High Level Advisory Group to EU
Commissioner Carlos Moedas (confirmed)


2nd Live-stream with the Annual Meeting in China

Second live connection with China. This time, the Chinese side shares outcomes of their discussion. Moderated by Karen Boers


Leveraging connections for new economic opportunity: making the Single Market a reality - Facilitated by Karen Boers and the Digital Europe team, World Economic Forum




Karen Boers

European Startup Network

Karen is CEO of the European Startup Network, gathering 24 national startup associations who jointly represent over 25.000 startups across Europe. The Network wishes to strengthen and support the national networks by sharing best practices, deepen insights in the DNA of European startups and startup ecosystems through massive and real-time data analysis and research to support policy making as well as fast-track the international go-to-market of European startups through soft landing and matchmaking programs. Karen is also co-founder and Managing Director of, the Belgian one-stop-shop on tech entrepreneurship as well as the Belgian coding school BeCode.