Europe has world class entrepreneurs and innovators. And we must do everything we can to match their ambitions so more go on to become global innovation leaders. I want us to do that by building a pan-European innovation ecosystem of support on their doorstep that accelerates their chances of thriving and making an impact on the international stage.
In echoing the growing calls for a European Innovation Area, this year's European Innovation Sum-mit, organised by the Knowledge4Innovation Forum, is shining a spotlight on exactly the type of big idea we need to deliver for our brightest minds: Towards a European Innovation Area' is the Summit's theme. It is an idea that is very close to my heart and a solution that is being co-cre-ated with stakeholders from all Member States and the Members of the European Parliament. In our discussions to date we have envisioned a new European single space for innovators and entrepreneurs that will not leave any of the 27 Member States behind, and that will have a specific focus on supporting regions and women and that will provide a pivotal role for Higher Education Institutions to connect innovation ecosystems across Europe.
With a truly pan-European innovation ecosystem we can create the conditions for new business ideas to grow like never before. We can also increase our fair share of global tech leaders increasing the number of unicorns that come from Europe, 12% of the global unicorns as of today. Because in their current form our local innovation ecosystems, though vibrant, are too fragmented and disconnected to bridge the gaps that exist. It is time to raise the bar now and go much further in forging a cohesive, interconnected system, where we no longer have a situation where it is easier to contact an investor in Silicon Valley than in Europe.
By taking a decentralised co-creation approach we can develop a European Innovation Area that is built by innovators for innovators. One which offers equal access to funding and where startups in one country can easily bid for public contracts in another. where startups and corporates work more closely together and where there have strong European associations bringing together all the actors of the European innovation ecosystems. I want us to achieve this and to nurture a networking culture fit for the 21st century, where all players are able to easily connect at a local and European level. And I also want to see the increased participation of women- led startups.
On the last point, it is great to see the successes being achieved by this year's EUTOP50 female founder finalists. Among the most exciting entrepreneurs working in Europe today, they are living proof that with self-confidence we can do anything. I am truly inspired by their stories, which have given me the energy to work even harder to empower women in Europe and beyond. They are the positive role models we need to help motivate and attract more girls and women to innovation and entrepreneurship.
I urge these female founders, and all involved in this year's European Innovation Summit - as well as those in the wider innovation community, to reach out to me and share their actionable ideas for how we continue to take European innovation forward together.