Startup Nations Driving Smart Startup Policy

Cristina Fernandez @CristinaFern


Jun 11, 2015

Many of the policymakers and program leaders focused on exploring different policy ideas and government programs to help accelerate new and young firm formation participated in this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Congress. It might have surprised some that they looked much more similar to “untucked”-shirt-entrepreneurs than some may have imagined.

In 2012, these important ecosystem players formed a network called Startup Nations (SN), which now counts over 50 member organizations. Early players in the field of nation-wide initiatives to help inform policy included the Startup Canada and Startup Britain, which co-founded the network.

Soon joined by Startup Malaysia and Start-Up Chile, the network began sharing their roadmaps and blueprints.

The structures, goals and strategies of its members vary, accurately reflecting the diversity of entrepreneur types and culture, but they all maintain the following three principles:

  1. Smarter policymaking: At its core, Startup Nations is a network of policymakers and leaders of public-sector supported programs. Critical to SN member interactions is the recognition that policymakers can be open to experimentation to improve the impact of their efforts.
  2. Knowledge- and experience-sharing: Members share what they have learned about interventions (policy, programmatic, evaluation methods, or otherwise) that support their entrepreneurship communities. They embrace openness and candid experience sharing about program successes and failures.
  3. Fostering evidence-based impact evaluation: Startup Nations are committed to assessing whether programs in various startup ecosystems are performing or not,
    and believe they will be more effective when informed and armed by efforts such as the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network (GERN).

Startup Nations Summit 2015Over the past three years, SN has expanded to include new members, such as Start Up Indonesia, Startup Denmark, Startup Maroc, Startup South Africa, StartUp Australia and Startup Delta. A full list of members is available, here.

Pushing the policy thinking frontier in GEW 2015

Startup Korea hosted the annual Startup Nations Summit (SNS) last November at the tail end of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). SNS 2015 will once again provide a grand finale for GEW celebrations this year, but this time in Monterrey, Mexico.

Startup Nations network prepares for new round of policy discussions that promises to unveil new angles and policy perspectives to spur new firm formation and growth. SNS 2015 co-host, the National Institute of the Entrepreneur of Mexico’s the Economy Secretariat, will also provide SN members with opportunities to deep-dive the Mexican ecosystem and see first-hand the gaps they are closing through smart programs and policy.

As new members join the network, previous leaders of startup nation initiatives remain engaged and are open to providing advice. In this spirit, for example, White House Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship, Doug Rand, traveled to Seoul last year to interact with SN members based on his past work on the Startup America initiative.

To get a sense of the topics that interest SN members, we invite you to check the Startup Nations website and Facebook group. The voice of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and other ecosystem players drives their work, so don’t hesitate to reach out to this member of the GEN family of programs.

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