Allied for Startups’ 5th Annual Summit Scales Up!

October 22, 2019

We want every elected official to know 3 startups in his or her constituency! Because when policy makers know about startups, they are far less likely to make decisions that adversely affect them. This was one of the priorities that the members of Allied for Startups adopted in the network’s mandate for the coming year. In its 5th edition, Allied for Startups’ Annual Summit united 23 startup associations from 3 continents to Brussels to discuss how policy can enable exponential startup growth.

Taking a step back: Why are startup communities gathering in Brussels every year to discuss policies surrounding entrepreneurship and innovation? Policy matters – whether it’s the GDPR, net neutrality or global data flows – startups are the first to feel the effects of policies gone wrong. This makes it all the more important that they’re being represented in policy debates. Yet, it’s hard to blame an entrepreneur for having more immediate concerns in mind, like building an amazing product or establishing cash flow. This demands that startup communities, which bring together horizontal knowledge and experience,  step up for them. And since startups aren’t restrained to one market there is a demand for a global community of startups. 46 member associations and 5 years later, Allied for Startups celebrated a number of milestones at its largest Summit yet.

True to the nature of entrepreneurs, most of the Summit was spent discussing current and new challenges on the horizon with Gerard de Graaf, Pearse O’Donohue and Prabhat Agarwal from the European Commission. For startup communities, the Digital Services Act, stock options and a potential EU AI regulation are all issues where entrepreneurs need to be at the table. 

Can you name 3 startups in your constituency?

When it comes to informing MEPs of three startups in their constituency, we wanted to put our money where our mouth is straight away. On day three of our Summit John Collison, Co-founder of Stripe (the world’s most valued fintech), joined a roundtable discussion in the European Parliament we hosted with the support of MEPs Eva Maydell and Sean Kelly. Fittingly at the start of the new mandate, the discussion allowed policymakers and community leaders to connect and exchange their priorities. 

To kick-off, John shared a few highlights from his entrepreneurial journey. Showcasing the exponential growth of Stripe gave a concrete case to guide the following discussion around supporting startup communities. Startups are not just innovation engines, they are also job machines and laser-focused on providing their users with value.

In the following exchange, members of Allied for Startups and guests shared highlights from their ecosystem and discussed what measures could support them at the European level. Nurturing and retaining talent is one key ingredient where more could be done. On the latter, a European-wide reform of stock options was called for by multiple ecosystem representatives. One way of going about this would be to give startups a more permanent seat at the table in Brussels. In the Parliament this could be done by establishing an intergroup on startups and scaleups

Now that Allied for Startups has a mandate for the coming year, which adds Competition, Capital and eHealth, it’s time to think about the best way to follow-through on our priorities. We’re always open for feedback. Get in touch if you have an idea that enables exponential startup growth or would like to hear one of ours. We thank all parties involved and look forward to building an even bigger Summit with you from 12-14 October in 2020.