Uniting Global Startup Communities – The AFS Annual Summit

November 3, 2022
Startup Communities

Last week, Allied for Startups hosted its 8th edition of the Annual Summit! Representatives from over 23 startup associations across the globe gathered in Brussels to connect, exchange ideas, and vote on our 2023 policy priorities. 

After interesting reflections and deliberations, our Members voted on the AFS 2023 Mandate, which outlines our policy priorities for the upcoming year. On this occasion, three key priorities were outlined for 2023:

  • Building ecosystems: We will keep supporting startup ecosystems by broadening our works’ scope through the creation of key verticals and by expanding our Membership. In addition, we will work to practically support Members’ crisis resilience and coordinate collective action. We also aim to draft a 2024 EU Elections Charter, which will serve as a blueprint for other elections across the globe. 
  • Data: The way in which data (both personal and non-personal) and other digital technologies such as AI are legislated is key for startup creation and scaling, which is why we will continue to engage with the relevant data and AI policy files.
  • Driving Sustainability: Startups are key to driving the twin digital and green transition. We are determined to support startups, who are at the centre of this transition by ensuring policy makers co-create startup-friendly policies in these areas. 

The Annual Summit also saw the unique opportunity for startup communities to speak directly to policy makers through a series of high-level panels, fireside chats, and networking sessions. Our three panels gave our Members the opportunity to engage with experts on the following topics:

  • Accelerating Startup Ecosystems: Featuring Ms. Helen Köpman, Prof Rudy Aernoudt and Mr. Ignacio Barriendos, this panel focused on funding opportunities for startups, the challenges that startups face today as well as the possible ways to overcome them. 
  • Building a Startup-Friendly Policy Environment: Mr. Robert Madelin, MEP Tsvetelina Penkova and Ms. Agata Hidalgo shared their thoughts on the need for a specific legislative treatment for startups different from that of SMEs, the importance of streamlining startup-friendly policies, and policy-making processes that increase stakeholder engagement and facilitate implementation.
  • Starting up 2024 European Elections Ms. Eline Chivot, Mr. Martin Bresson and Ms. Sabina Ciofu engaged in a discussion about the next European election and the way in which the startup community can engage with present and future policy makers.

We were also thrilled to host yet another edition of our Annual Policy Dinner which brought together startup associations, policy makers, and global tech & industry representatives for an evening of networking, good food, and new connections! The dinner also featured a fireside chat with Ms. Anna Petrova, CEO of Startup Ukraine and Mr. Michael Lally, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs and Senior Commercial Officer for Europe at the US Embassy in Brussels, which touched on the war in Ukraine and the role of the EU and the US in shaping the global conversation about innovation and entrepreneurship. 

We are truly impressed with how much we can achieve when startup communities come together under one voice to support innovation and entrepreneurship. We want to thank all of our Members and Partners for your continued commitment and support that makes AFS the organisation it is today. We will keep working to give startups a seat at the policy table.

Here’s our Allied for Startups’ 2022 Annual Report, outlining our key projects, growth, and membership throughout this past year.