The Index was produced by Nesta as part of the European Digital Forum, which exists to support digital entrepreneurship and digital startups across Europe. The European Digital Forum is run in collaboration with the European Commission's Startup Europe initiative. The project has been funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
For startups and scale-ups, it provides information about the strengths and weaknesses of local ecosystems, allowing them to plan accordingly and consider where they may need to devote more resources.
For policy makers aiming to encourage digital entrepreneurship in their own city, the Index helps to identify existing and promising hubs of activity, in order to learn from their practices. Additionally, it allows benchmarking of performance against other European hubs, and helps identify which policy areas to prioritise.
Comparison with other indices.
The Index covers all capital cities in the EU. Additionally, it includes thirty two non-capital cities in the EU that are important hubs of digital entrepreneurship.
These extra cities were not chosen arbitrarily, but by reference to other indicators of digital activity or entrepreneurship.
The Index is comprised of a number of composite indicators, clustered into ten 'themes'. These themes summarise the environment of a given city, as it relates to digital entrepreneurship.
The themes were chosen by reference to the academic literature on entrepreneurship, through consultation with experts, and through a process of primary research with digital startups - in other words, asking entrepreneurs from across Europe what matters to them. The themes are similar to the OECD's six categories of entrepreneurial determinants, with some additions.
Within the themes the developers deliberately aimed to include some novel metrics that they felt provided an interesting, but under-utilised, indicator of digital activity.
Source: European Digital City Index 2016