Guestblog by our international partner Allied for Startups!
Startups are a key constituent not just of the digital economy, but of the economy per se. In Amsterdam alone, startups added 13,000 jobs to the economy in the last two years. Now there are over 69,000 in the city, making for an annual jobs growth rate of 12%. Given the enormous potential of startups not just for the economy, but also for society and innovation at large, it is important that policy makers construct rules that support or even promote this growth trajectory.
Much of the regulatory framework startups abide by is negotiated and adopted in the European Union. Take, for instance, the GDPR, Platform-to-business rules or the Copyright Directive as recent examples that show how important it is that startups find a hearing in Brussels. Literally, startups are on the menu, so why not elect MEPs who understand them?
Getting tech policy right for startups works best when policy makers speak to entrepreneurs. Dutch MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij, for instance, went on a number of fact-finding missions to Silicon Valley with a group of MEPs. His subsequent report asking entrepreneurs and experts how Europe can improve the quality of its startup and scaleup ecosystem contributes to a lively conversation between entrepreneurs and politicians.
The discussions on tech policy are not about to become easier. The next mandate will probably feature debates around platform governance (i.e. intermediary liability: who is responsible for what is uploaded online?), a first review of the GDPR and legislators’ first attempts to add a framework to AI development. There will be more discussions around digital taxation, access to talent and completing the European Single Market.
Broadly speaking, tech is no longer just perceived as a tool that can help cross a bridge, but for some as a fault line itself. Some might see tech companies as part of the problem, while others see it as part of the solution. In this evolution, it is vital that startup entrepreneurs make their voices heard. Getting legislation that works for startups is a lot easier if the MEPs making legislation are convinced of the latter, sharing the forward-looking and optimistic outlook that so many entrepreneurs tackle their projects with.
Allied for Startups launched Europe♥Startups, a campaign that challenges MEPs and candidates to meet and engage with their local startup community and also calls for an Intergroup on Startups and Scaleups in the next Parliament. Doing so ensures that startups have an institutionalised seat at the policy table.
Regardless of political colour, we encourage startup communities to get engaged, and most importantly, for everyone to vote. Watch the Spitzenkandidaten debate in Maastricht on 29 April or on 15 May in Brussels to find out more, reach out and put startups centre-stage for this election cycle!
Startup communities made 15 proposals for: Building the United Tech of Europe