The European Crowd Experts: Italy & Cypres

The second edition of Crowd Dialog Europe is coming up in September, where participants from all 28 European members countries will discuss the phenomenon of swarm-based innovation processes, alternative financing scenarios and future of work models for practical insights to potential new business fields as well as an international context on trends and its relation to praxis. In preparation for the event we sit down with two of the experts to discuss crowd-related business in Italy and Cypres.

Country Snapshot Italy — Selected Expert: Umberto Piatelli

Umberto Piattelli joined Osborne Clarke as a Partner in 2008 as part of the expansion of its financial services sector and has been appointed Head of the Financial Service Sector in Italy. Over the years Umberto has accrued significant experience in corporate finance transactions acting for investment fund and financial institutions with reference to domestic and cross border transactions.

His expertise relates also to equity and debt capital markets transactions and regulatory advice to financial institutions, including banks, investment firms, payment institutions and alternative finance providers. Umberto has been appointed as Member of the ESCF (to represent Italy), the group of experts selected by the European Commission to advise over alternative finance matters (including equity and lending crowdfunding) and sits in the Assolombarda (Lombardy Entrepreneurial Association) committee within the ambit of the project dealing with the development of crowdfunding in Italy.

What is the current status quo and framework for crowd related business in your country?

— Italy is developing the market thanks to the law and regulation applicable to equity crowdfunding deals, while lending crowdfunding activity is booming (from two platforms to six or more by the end of the year) in all the sectors (P2P and B2B lending ) and with a strong impact on P2B lending for SMEs, even if a dedicated regulation is not yet available.

State 3 objectives which you believe must be addressed in the next two years:

  1. Amend the equity law to allow all the startup and SMEs to raise capital online with easier processes.
  2. Identify specific regulations for lending crowdfunding platforms.
  3. Allow the market to grow in order to reach significant achievement in terms of millions of euro of capital and loans raised.

How will cross-border crowd-related business disrupt existing concepts of countries?

—Cross-border crowdfunding platforms are the next generation of market players, those who will be winning the contest at a European level. No doubt that those who will be ready to allow investors from different jurisdictions to invest or finance projects across Europe, are going to grow their business dramatically and could also drive the birth of crowdfunding secondary alternative stock-markets. It seems a big deal!

Country Snapshot Cypres – selected Expert: Irene Demetriou-Rotsides

Irene graduated from King’s College London in 2008, with a BA in European Studies and International Relations. In 2009 she was awarded an MA in Conflict,  Security and Development by the same university. She is also currently pursuing an  LLB by distance learning at the University of London.

Irene has gained extensive experience in European strategy, policy and development, entrepreneurship and innovation and the start-up ecosystem. She is involved in EU and national funding schemes, project management and proposal writing as well as business development and crisis management. She represents Crowdfunding Cyprus.

What is the current status quo and framework for crowd related business in your country?
—Crowd related business is rather at its infancy stage in Cyprus. Crowdfunding, for example, has seen some sporadic development but no organized ecosystem has developed in order to enable knowledge-sharing, and crowdfunding investment management. Crowd-sourcing, on the other hand, has experienced some progressive steps but still lacks behind its European counterparts. A regulatory framework for crowd related business does not currently exist in Cyprus. Equity based crowdfunding may be affected by existing legislation or example the Companies Law, cap.113 or the Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Law, Law 144(I)/2007. Furthermore, and based on the recent opinion EBA/Op/2015/03 as issued by the European Banking Authority. The need for bespoke legislation on the matter is essential in this respect.

Crowdfunding must be viewed as a serious access- to- finance vehicle and not as a subsidiary activity addressed only to young entrepreneurs.

  1. It is imperative to create a distinct and specialized piece of legislation on the matter, first to regulate the process and secondly to provide institutional support to this new but extremely promising ecosystem.
  2. Crowdfunding must be viewed as a serious access- to- finance vehicle and not as a subsidiary activity addressed only to young entrepreneurs.
  3. Investors and states must realize that this ecosystem (including both crowdfunding and crowdsourcing) offers tangible and measurable returns on investment and an excellent source for development and effective policy-making.

—Crowd-related business must be incorporated as governmental policy. Involving the state in the development and promotion of the field has numerous advantages such as attracting impact investing, encouraging public-private partnerships and creating a support network for the promotion of entrepreneurship, innovation and open data. Synergies and collaborations with outside actors will be vital for the fulfillment of this objective.

State 3 objectives which you believe must be addressed in the next two years:

  1. It is imperative to create a distinct and specialized piece of legislation on the matter, first to regulate the process and secondly to provide institutional support to this new but extremely promising ecosystem.
  2. Crowdfunding must be viewed as a serious access- to- finance vehicle and not as a subsidiary activity addressed only to young entrepreneurs.
  3. Investors and states must realize that this ecosystem (including both crowdfunding and crowdsourcing) offers tangible and measurable returns on investment and an excellent source for development and effective policy-making.

—Crowd-related business must be incorporated as governmental policy. Involving the state in the development and promotion of the field has numerous advantages such as attracting impact investing, encouraging public-private partnerships and creating a support network for the promotion of entrepreneurship, innovation and open data. Synergies and collaborations with outside actors will be vital for the fulfillment of this objective.

How will cross-border crowd-related business disrupt existing concepts of countries?

—Cross-border crowd-related business promotes united collaboration beyond strict physical and state boundaries. It will be interesting to note in coming years how this business will affect the design and implementation of smart cities, urban planning, policy promotion and the regulation of financial and cultural ties.

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Join the European Crowd Experts

On September 8th, 2016, Crowd Dialog Europe gathers the European Crowd experts from all 28 EU member states in Graz, Austria After premiering the event series last year in the Finnish capital Helsinki,  the Who’s Who of European crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and crowdinnovation-scene will meet in the capital of Styria. More than 300 representatives from business, academia and politics will discuss and challenge the most current findings and changes in the industry. The event will be held under the motto “United Knowledge – beyond limits”.

Learn more >

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