The European Commission’s open API platform FI-WARE announced a $109 million (€80 million) fund for startups using its “toolbox” in a Friday blog post. The post was written by Neelie Kroes, the Commission VP in charge of its Digital Agenda, and offers to distribute the money to 1,300 small business and web entrepreneurs starting in September.
FI-WARE is a public-private partnership established in 2011 which offers open source generic enablers and the FI-WARE lab infrastructure to use them. The project focuses on encouraging new projects in developing areas like the Internet of Things.
The funding is part of the EU’s larger initiative under the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, Startup Europe, which aims to support and foster growth for European web and IT startups by providing mentorship and access to funding.
The program reflects the opportunity Europe has to take advantage of the shaky climate in the US for running online businesses brought on by the Snowden revelations.
Kroes has been a vocal supporter of helping tech startups thrive in Europe. At a recent Tech All Stars 2014 competition, Kroes called startups Europe’s “national heroes.”
“We need to say it loud and clear and put them at the heart of the world’s biggest economy: Europe. We should be leading the way in tech education for our youth while encouraging more women into tech,” Kroes said.
FI-WARE has already given away millions of Euros to challenge winners such as FoodLoop, a service that connects food products near their expiry date to consumers and charities.
Phase 3 of the project is designed to turn technological developments into innovative apps and services through the help of private accelerators.
The grants are funded by the 16 accelerators, each with their own areas of expertise. The accelerator funding will also come with business support, mentoring and networking. Three are focused on #SmartCities, and 3 on #AgriFood, while the remaining 10 focus on a variety of issues such as #OpenData, #eHealth, and 3DPrinting.
The European Commission’s Digital Agenda produced guidelines for cloud computing SLAs within the European Union in June.