The GIFT Network: Building a Pan-European Network for Startup Hubs

The GIFT Network: Building a Pan-European Network for Startup Hubs

In the dynamic world of startups, collaboration and knowledge-sharing can be the difference between success and failure. This is where GIFT (Grow Impact For Tech) steps in. The network aims to foster learning among various startup hubs, ultimately creating a more cohesive and supportive ecosystem for startups across the continent.

This is GIFT

“The humble project of BeCentral and H7, supported by Erasmus+, was crucial in setting the foundation for GIFT, a network for peer-support among European startup hubs. When I met Adrien Levrat from H7 and Charlene Crespel from BeCentral at Slush 2023, and heard about GIFT for the very first time, it was a direct “yes” to join this network”, opens Anni from Maria 01. A bit later the network got Tech Barcelona from Spain joining too.

Adrien Levrat from H7, Anni Anttonen from Maria 01, Charlène Crespel from BeCentral; Juan Baselga from Tech Barcelona and Julien Marbouty from H7.

At the moment GIFT functions as a channel for information exchange, discussing challenges & solutions, and the different operational environments the startup hubs face. The regular interaction fosters a sense of community and provides valuable insights into how startup hubs could overcome common obstacles and support the startups in the best way.

Overcoming Common Challenges & Future Goals

Startup hubs across Europe face similar hurdles: securing funding, managing remote work, and maintaining an active community. By sharing successful strategies and providing mutual support, startup hubs can enhance their capabilities.

“We realised that simply sharing information wasn’t enough. We needed a more structured collaboration to help startups expand their markets and understand new ecosystems in new regions. The local knowledge within the GIFT network is invaluable for this”, states Anni.

This spring GIFT also organised the first online international pitching contest receiving excellent feedback.

“Investors and startups alike appreciated the opportunity to see a diverse range of pitches and to network across borders. This event truly demonstrated the power of cross-border collaboration”, opens Anni as the pitching competitions often are quite local. 

In the future, the GIFT network is planning to organise more of these events and actions that are designed to internationally engage the startup community more deeply. The network also has an interest in working as a unified voice advocating for startup-friendly regulations at the EU level and creating a more supportive environment for startups. Affecting the regulation could for example prevent European companies from being sold off to another continent too early in their growth.

Timo Wright from Maria 01 Startup Member StoryDrops opens ideas from the startup perspective: “Better international networking opportunities could boost growth, for example when one is expanding outside their own country or outside of Europe. Also, a startup working in a specific field, we would appreciate the possibility of expanding our network with startups, focused on similar themes. Additionally, international funding opportunities are always welcome.”

Meeting the GIFT team at Maria 01.

Why Startups Should Engage with GIFT

For startups looking to expand internationally or enhance their entrepreneurial skills, GIFT offers a wealth of shared knowledge and valuable connections. This network is here to support your journey and help you navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship.

“If you have ideas on how GIFT could help the journey of your startup or want to hear more about the collaboration, let’s discuss more”, closes Anni from Maria 01.

Anni Anttonen,
Maria 01 (member of the GIFT Network)

Already a member of Maria 01? If not, take a look at our membership options here.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter and stay in the loop.

Joining our mailing list will get you the latest trends and topics from the startup world, information about our upcoming events, as well as open positions within our community.