The LIFE (Learning Incrementally from Failed Entrepreneurship) project is about collaborative learning from failure in entrepreneurship and collaborative actions to bring entrepreneurship forward. It aims to overcome distributed markets and decentralized policy by providing access to pan-European case stories, talent & relevant expertise, to sufficient financing and to adequate facilities & networks.
Throughout, LIFE project found that most of the problems related to time and resources. Experience, strategy, focus, goals, and contacts accounted for the rest. LIFE found that Money and Team issues are the most recurring challenges for startups, but it’s interesting to note that the priorities change with each phase.
Numerous events, articles, conferences were organized and published throughout Europe bringing #failingfwd to the spotlight. Startups shared their experience what caused them to fail, which was one of the first research of its kind in Europe. It proved valuable as a concept, and chances are that more and more organisations could realize the importance of measuring why startups fail and in which stages. These insights could feed into policy recommendations after further refinement pertaining to geography and culture.
The ultimate achievement of the LIFE project was its 3 step approach to take on the challenge of failed entrepreneurship in Europe. These ideas can be used by any country, region or city that wishes to PREVENT their startups from suffering failure, RESPOND to their startup ecosystem should failure occur. It also aims to get people to DISCUSS the failures they have experienced to change the negative perception the subject, reduce people’s fear to failure and encourage entrepreneurial activity, strengthening as a result the European startup ecosystem.
PREVENT startups from failure
Funding and incentives:
- Encourage and attract more early stage funding (particularly Business Angels).
- Encourage and attract serious funding opportunities by measures to attract institutional venture capital firms.
- Promote the use of alternative funding mechanisms (such as crowdfunding).
Education in entrepreneurship:
- Place a greater emphasis at national level regarding the introduction of an education in entrepreneurship into the school curriculum.
- Change the traditional university structures & encourage entrepreneurs to become educators themselves.
Build on EU policy and legal framework:
- Build on the European policy and legal framework set out in the new European
- Approach to Business Failure and Insolvency, promoting the adoption of measures at national level to
- promote early warning and self-assessment services, and attempting to prevent companies from entering court proceedings.
RESPOND to failure with effective second chance measures
Measures to facilitate second chance:
- Build on the European policy and legal framework by promoting the adoption of measures at national level on bankruptcy settlement, discharge, second chance advice and support.
- Encourage companies to change their company culture:
- Encourage companies to change their company cultures to embrace, celebrate and learn from failure.
DISCUSS failure openly
Spread the word on failure:
- Create appropriate environments and platforms where peers can share the challenges they have faced and, most importantly, what they have learned from their experience.