Bringing together startup communities: our Annual Summit 2021

October 14, 2021
startup communities

We hosted our 7th consecutive (very successful!) Annual Summit! Every year we gather our Members so startup communities can connect broadly and discuss our yearly priorities and vote on our Mandate for the following year. Here’s what happened at our Virtual Summit: 

After much consideration, our Members voted on the following three key priorities for 2022:

  1. Startup Ecosystem Initiatives – Identifying, collecting, sharing and implementing policy suggestions with startup ecosystems, including grassroots initiatives like the Startup Nations Standard (and its implementation!).
  2. Platform Governance – Ensuring legislation on online platforms is done through the lense of startups and empowers starting and scaling up. 
  3. Data Governance – Guiding the drafting and implementation of data-related policies to ensure they create open, safe, globally connected ecosystems for startups to scale in. This includes data access, free flow of data, eHealth and Artificial Intelligence.

Long term goals: Our Members also come together to look ahead and agree on a 5 year objective plan.  In the next years, we would like to further grow as the most modern, agile and impactful startup policy organisation in the world; continue to grow our Membership so startups from everywhere in the world can be represented in policy discussions and lastly, continue to achieve meaningful policy change for and with our Members. 

We have a new Board!  We are thrilled that our Membership has also elected a new Board (former Continental Council) composed of 8 members, who will guide our activities and strategy for the next 2 years. We are excited to see the diversity of our new Board and know each will bring a unique perspective to the table! 

  • Kayla Isabelle, CEO, Startup Canada; 
  • Martina Fitzgerald, CEO, Scale Ireland; 
  • Dom Hallas, Executive Director, Coadec; 
  • Dash Dhakshinamoorthy, Founder and CEO, Startup Malaysia; 
  • Johanna Einsiedler, Head of Think Tank & Operations, Austrian Startups; 
  • Julia Fenart, Head of European Affairs, France Digitale; 
  • Gilles Ametepe, Co-Founder, Ghana for Startups; 
  • Ivan Vasilev, Board Member, BESCO who will act as alternate board member. 

Our board will provide thought leadership and strategy guidance to the AFS Secretariat, along with Melissa Blaustein, our CEO and Mike McGeary, our Treasurer. 

Policy makers and startup communities: 

We also used this opportunity for our Members to speak directly to policy makers. This year, our members virtually sat down with Anthony Whelan, Cabinet Member of European Commission’s President Ursula Von der Leyen, and discussed startups issues in the Digital Single Market, EU’s ambition to create Unicorns in Europe, startups in the green transition and the EU long term plan for global data flows. Our Members then had a chance to speak to Eoghen O’Neill from DG Connect to discuss the Startup Nations Standard and its implementation and brainstormed on how to make the SNS a global initiative.

At the Summit we also announced that we will host our DTx Startup Congress on 8th December, which will feature the official launch of the HealthTech Charter. Stay tuned! 

We are very thankful to our Members, which once again have shown that great things happen when startup organisations come together under one voice. We will keep working to make sure startups have a seat at the policy table!