Unlocking the power of AI skills in Europe: Meet start-up & SME AI innovators in Brussels

The DIGITAL SME and EIT AI communities gathered in Brussels to discuss Europe’s AI skills gap:

  • What is the current situation in the AI skills job market?

  • What are some tools that start-ups and SMEs can utilize to fill in the AI skills gap?

  • What are the long-term steps that Europe can take to upskill and reskill its workforce across local ecosystems?

The AI revolution has taken the world by storm. The release of ChatGPT in late 2022 was the first glimpse of the general public to the advanced stage that AI technologies have reached. In this context, start-ups and SMEs have a unique opportunity to enter an emerging market and put forth innovative solutions that will set them apart. Not only this can provide start-ups and SMEs with new fertile ground for innovation, but it could also help propel Europe into a leadership position when it comes to cutting-edge, trustworthy AI.

But in order for start-ups and SMEs to build breakthrough AI systems, the right people with the right skills are needed. When it comes to digital skills and talent, Europe is faced with a supply shortage.

In 2017, more than half of Europe’s companies faced difficulties recruiting ICT specialists, especially when it came to vacancies that required advanced digital skills, such as those related to artificial intelligence. The Stanford Report on AI has reported that 34% of all enterprises acknowledge that the digital skills gap in AI hinders AI adoption in their companies. As a result, Europe is lagging behind, with China leading in the area of AI research publications and the US leading in the area of AI investments.

It is also evident that the growing demand for skilled employees within Artificial Intelligence cannot be met by current education and training programmes. Europe needs an innovative European AI Strategy that takes into account the latest trends and developments and that can fast-track the upskilling and reskilling of the EU’s workforce to meet this ever-increasing demand.

To address these issues, we have gathered a panel of speakers that represent all types of stakeholders: the European Union, the academia as well as the start-up and SME communities.

Finally, the event featured the launch of the new Joint Focus Group AI that will now operate in cooperation with EIT’s AI Community. If you are an AI innovator or expert, join us to learn more about this new exciting professional opportunity.

Full recording of the event



Welcoming remarks



  • Magí Lluch-Ariet, EIT AI Community


Panel Discussion:

  • Maria Gkoutnouma, DG EAC at European Commission
  • Mattia Bellotti, Secretary General of EUTOPIA
  • Loredana Bucseneanu, European DIGITAL SME Alliance
  • Elsa Papadopoulou, AI and Ethics Expert, Ionian University
  • Moderator: Tommaso Emiliani, EIT Food


Artificial Intelligence Skills Alliance: Presentation of the AI SKILLS ANALYSIS REPORT

  • Lorendana Bucseneanu, European DIGITAL SME Alliance


Launch of the Joint Focus Group AI

  • A new professional opportunity for AI innovators and experts to contribute to the discussion of AI innovation in Europe and influence decision-making at the highest levels.


Networking reception

Rue Guimard 7, 1000 Bruxelles