EU Startup Nations Standard
EU Startup Nation Standards: A QUICK EXPLAINER
- Fast startup creation, smooth market entry
- Attracting and retaining Talent
- Stock options
- Innovation in Regulation
- Innovation procurement (including tech transfer policies)
- Access to Finance
- Social inclusion, diversity, and protecting democratic values
Startups and scale-ups are key to Europe’s future economy and society. They are essential players to make the ambitions with respect to the European Green Deal and the European Digital Strategy a reality. And the EU startup ecosystem has never been stronger.
According to Atomico’s State of European Tech report and Crunchbase’s latest global VC funding report, European startups had a record-breaking 2021, with 116 billion US dollars invested. To surf the wave, the European Commission set in the 2030 Digital Compass the ambitious goal of doubling the number of unicorns in Europe.
However, and despite having the biggest absolute number of startups (notably 246,000), the EU ecosystem loses this theoretical upper hand when compared to the USA, Singapore, or Israel, in per capita terms. The same about employed people, and ecosystem value.
Several factors explain this. From a European perspective, the reason number one is policy, regulatory and market fragmentation. If the EU wants to compete with powerful global tech hubs such as the US and China, it needs to catch up and do a lot on several policy fields by providing the best framework conditions for startups to grow, flourish and stay in the EU.
The bottom line is: Member States with startup-friendly legislation will be the ones to benefit from the resulting innovation and economic growth. This will be especially important for post-Covid economic recovery. Against this, the found solution was to gather the biggest possible number of countries around the same policy and regulatory priorities.
On 19 March 2021, and during the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU, the European Commission, with 26 EU Member States and Iceland launched the EU Startup Nation Standards of Excellence (SNS), a set of eight best practice policies that are hallmarks of a growth-friendly environment for startups and entrepreneurs, and designed to fuel the creation of the next generation of successful European tech giants.
Concretely, these standards answer real-life issues faced by startups, by making it easier to start a business, to attract capital, expand across borders and hire and retain top talent. And driving convergence and progressive harmonization of EU Member States on this is the sine qua non for the SNS to be impactful, and, more importantly, for European startups to achieve their full potential. But so is implementation.
As difficult as reaching a political compromise on policy standards touching upon issues that are way off-limits of EU competencies as per EU treaties may seem, the real test now is to make sure these practices are effectively implemented across all EU Member States.
The European Startup Nations Alliance (ESNA), , the new European entity leading the EU agenda for entrepreneurship, is based in Lisbon, Portugal and will be supporting the implementation of the SNS by the signatory countries, effectively giving substance to a partnership approach to governance. The 2022 activities calendar has just been announced, during the Mobile World Congress in Spain, and it will revolve around two fundamental principles: talent (focused on developing a fast track for Tech Visas) and financing (towards later stages of start-ups development).
One year into the launching of the SNS, it is important to learn how the tech & innovation ecosystem perceives the eight best practice policies in the SNS; what is missing, if anything; what should be prioritized; and what is the best way for ESNA to support the implementation by the signatory countries.
One thing is words. Another is a political compromise. And yet another is words carrying the weight of a political compromise with teeth to be properly implemented.
This has it all. Roll up your sleeves and join us then.
COME OUT AND PLAY, TOO
Make your organization a Portugal Tech League member: no strings attached, no money involved – unless you fancy supporting us with human or budget resources: