Bringing Together The Startup Community: AFS Annual Summit 2023

October 11, 2023
Startup Community

It’s our 9th time celebrating our AFS Annual Summit! Every year, we gather our members so startup communities can connect broadly and discuss our priorities, after which we vote on our Mandate for the following year. This year, for the very first time, we decided it was time to open the doors for everyone in our extended community to come and experience the startup magic. Here’s what happened: 

We hosted our biggest Summit yet. 30 representatives from startup associations came to Brussels, discussed our priorities, engaged in deep conversation about what the global startup ecosystem needs from policymakers, and voted on our 2024 Mandate which will guide our activities for the coming year. After much consideration, our members voted on the following key priorities for 2024. Some of them include regulation of artificial intelligence on a global level, data and privacy, transatlantic data flows, cybersecurity as well as elections and how startups can have a seat at the policy table. 

We have then introduced our new Management Board! We are thrilled that our Membership has also elected a new Board composed of 8 members which will guide our activities and strategy for the upcoming 2 years. We are excited to see the diversity of our new Board and know each will bring a unique perspective to the table!

  • Agata Hidalgo, France Digitale
  • Camilla de Coverly Veale, Startup Coalition
  • Kayla Isabelle, Startup Canada 
  • Csongor Biás, Startup Hungary
  • Tomasz Snażyk, Startup Poland
  • Lucien Burm, Dutch Startup Association 
  • Peter Kofler, Danish Entrepreneurship Association 
  • Gianmarco Carnovale, Chair, Roma Startup

Next, it was time to open the doors wide open. In our first public Summit, we allowed anyone to join the conversation about startups’ challenges and opportunities. During the keynote, we were joined by Mr. Bonifacio Garcia Porras, Head of Unit SMEs at DG Grow (European Commission), who dove into the regulatory landscape concerning startups and SMEs, from the Single Digital Gateway, the SME Relief Package as well as the Digital Markets and Digital Services Acts.  During the first panel discussion, Sacha Michaud (Glovo), Tobias Henz (McKinsey & Company), Caroline Louise Lilleør (Sirène) and Robin Wauters (Tech.eu) talked to us about the secret sauce of scaling up. Finally, during the second panel discussion, Kai Zenner (European Parliament), Frances Burwell (Atlantic Council), Zachary Long (Conductor AI) and Martin Ulbrich (DG Connect, European Commission) delved into the topic of AI regulation in the EU and the way AI can promote innovation in the global startup ecosystem. 

We want to thank all of our members, partners, sponsors and friends who participated in this years’ edition of the Annual Summit. We’re proud to say it has been the most successful thus far.