Last week the annual summit of Allied for Startups took place in Brussels. Allied for Startups is an organisation that connects startups with policymakers from around the world. As DSA, we are a proud member ever since last year. On our behalf they lobby for better startup policy in Brussels: on topic such as platform regulation, copyright or the GDPR.

A valuable lesson learned during the summit is the fact that policy makers really need the input from startups and scale-ups to come with better regulation. Whether they are working at the Economic Affairs department in a member state or at the European Commission: almost all policymakers and politicians are keen to hear what’s going on in the startup world.

All across the world several startup associations are working hard for their members. From Bulgaria to France, and from Canada to Malaysia. What many associations have in common is that they cannot thrive on membership contributions alone. They need corporate partnerships, additional investors/ business angels funding and sometimes even government funding to build their organisation.

Not coming from the startup world myself, I came across many sectors and trade associations during my working life. The most common ground: they are all very well organised. And most of all, they feel the urge to organise. And it’s exactly this sense of urgency that is lacking with startups. And it’s posing a real threat.

With important policy topics coming up such as building a regulatory framework for AI, the Digital Services Act (the revision of the current E-commerce directive) or e-privacy, it’s time to take our lobby efforts to a next level. These topics are far too important to ignore. And they are far too important to be solely be lobbied by vested interests. One of the 2020 priorities for Allied for Startups is making sure that every policymaker knows at least three startups in their constituency. The more startups they know, the less likely they will make decisions that adversely affect them. A great idea that will definitely improve regulation.

The voice of startups and scale-ups is desperately needed to make EU and national policies work as a driver for growth. To help scale young, ambitious and talented companies. So startups and scale-ups: unite!


Deze blog verscheen eerder op de site van de Dutch Startup Association, een van mijn opdrachtgevers: