Press Release: Allied for Startups encourages a stronger focus on startups for the European Commission’s SME and Industrial Strategies

March 10, 2020

[Brussels, 10 March 2020, contact: [email protected]] AFS welcomes the “SME strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe”, which includes the Startup Nations Standard, and encourages a strong focus on startups as independent actors in its implementation. 

“The talent-focus of the proposed Startup Nation Standard has significant potential for startup ecosystems, since access to talent is still a bottleneck for startups in Europe. Through the SME strategy, we are pleased to see concrete measures such as better startup visas and improved employee stock options on the table.” Benedikt Blomeyer, Director EU Policy, said. AFS has repeatedly called for both measures over the past years, for instance in the Cluj Recommendations.

As the SME strategy turns from strategy to concrete policy actions, it will be important to recognise startups as independent actors in their own right, and not as a subcategory of SMEs. Blomeyer states: “Unlike SMEs, startups can only succeed at scale. They are global from day one and aim to grow big and fast. Specific measures that work for SMES, for instance a regulatory exemption, might not work for startups. On the contrary, it could incentivise a startup to stay small. To account for these differences, the European Commission should consider a startup strategy that focuses on scalability, complementing the SME strategy.” 

AFS also welcomes the general ambition to reduce the administrative and regulatory burden for startups and complete the Single Market. The consideration of regulatory sandboxes as part of the toolkit is potentially valuable for startups, who build innovative products and services.

AFS is a worldwide network of over 40 advocacy organisations focused on improving the policy environment for startups. Our mission is to ensure that their voice are heard in government. For more information on AFS including a full list of our network, visit the website at www.alliedforstartups.org