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Open Data and Entrepreneurship

5 principles to stimulate innovation

The mechanisms of value of Open Data operate on multiple levels. Multiple Open Data benefits can be outlined, including transparency, increased government effectiveness and efficiency, increased participation and engagement and the release of social and commercial value through innovation. Regarding the latter, Open Data is increasingly connected to the creation of new products and services, as well as to helping businesses derive new insights and knowledge.

Although Open Data innovation takes place in organisations of all sizes and maturity levels, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses are crucial stakeholders in harnessing the full potential of Open Data, by creating new Open Data based products and business models. Entrepreneurs are known for their creativity and ability to turn ideas into successful business. More and more entrepreneurs who have an Open Data based business model rely on the availability and high quality of data and public sector information. Open Data has an enabling effect for entrepreneurs, by creating opportunities for new business models, products and services, by providing a wealth of free material to develop software applications for desktop and mobile use. Consequently, a large share of the 100,000 Open Data jobs in 2020 can be expected to consist of Open Data skilled people. In addition, the Open Data movement is strengthened by the presence of Open Data driven start-ups.

Such start-ups reinforce the general string of argumentation related to the high economic impact that Open Data has. They show - through their business activities - the immediate benefits that Open Data can have for job creation, new business models and the economy as a whole. Entrepreneurs working as data analysts, data intermediaries, software developers and other data related professionals, shape an important group of re-users. By coming up with tangible Open Data products and services, public organisations are convinced to further invest in Open Data programmes. Moreover, small innovative start-ups that work with Open Data, may pave the way for larger corporations and public organisations to adopt new Open Data solutions.

The importance of the enabling effect of Open Data on start-ups and vice-versa is highlighted in the latest Analytical Report on Open Data and Entrepreneurship. The report discusses the role of entrepreneurs in Open Data innovation, the relationship between Open Data and sustainability as well as the main Open Data barriers to entrepreneurship. The report also looks into the main policies implemented at the EU level to foster Open Data driven entrepreneurship and provides an overview of Open Data best practices. Examples such as Xpressomics (a search engine for genetic data), Farm Dog (a data driven company making healthy and environmentally sustainable food accessible to everyone) or PlumeLabs (an example of a company that was able to achieve minimum viable product and prototype with Open Data).



As the report also highlights, the relationship between Open Data and entrepreneurship is dual in its form. Entrepreneurs and Open Data mutually reinforce one another. Open Data fosters entrepreneurship on the one hand, and entrepreneurs boost Open Data developments on the other hand.
In order to make Open Data entrepreneurship flourish even further, the report highlights five key principles that need to be promoted:

  1. Build the ecosystem: a vivid ecosystem needs evolve around start-ups, including domain experts, business experts and technical experts, as well as citizens, journalists and data providers.
  2. Engage students and young people from early stages: educating young people about Open Data value and skills helps to shape (Open) Data driven solutions and enterprises after all.
  3. Invest in national and regional acceleration and incubation programmes with links to local ecosystems: it is essential to support entrepreneurs with virtual accelerators, mentors, trainers and community managers.
  4. Make the link between business, domain and data skills: organising hackathons and other challenges on specific policy themes and issues ensures more domain applicability.
  5. Separate entrepreneurs from other re-user groups so that they can be tracked and supported: in addition to current measurements, such as the EDP Open Data Maturity assessment, it would be valuable to differentiate between different types of re-users (entrepreneurs specifically, as compared to other businesses, citizens, public organisations, etc.) to further pinpoint those making Open Data impact.

About to start or boost your Open Data entrepreneurial journey? Read the full Analytical Report on "Open Data and Entrepreneurship in Europe" to discover related European Union policy, the impact of entrepreneurs with Open Data and various best practices in Open Data entrepreneurship. Download the report here.