Teams Announced for Second Global Edition of Policy Hack
Cristina A.
25 Sep 2018

The Startup Nations Summit, an annual gathering of startup-savvy policy advisers, will feature for a second year a global edition of the Startup Nations Policy Hack, developed in 2017 by the Global Entrepreneurship Network in close collaboration with the government of Estonia and Dell.

The concept of a cross-border policy hack was born out of Startup Nations members' willingness to help each other deal with challenges they face in grappling with unexpected policy hurdles and unfamiliar regulatory issues. The resulting Startup Nations Policy Hack model embraces a new approach to policymaking – one that is based on dialogue, sandbox-type idea exchanges, and collaboration among different stakeholders in the entrepreneurial economy.

SNS organizers are pleased to announce the seven teams for the policy hack that will take place in Indonesia this November. Team leaders are selected from a pool of nominations outlining real-world challenges, a preliminary idea of how to address them and a commitment to test the hacked solution in their respective ecosystems.

Each team leader bringing a policy idea to the table and will be matched with both public and private sector leaders from around the world to help refine the idea. The goal is for team leaders to return home ready to implement the policy solution they have hacked.


Team 1: Elevating the Impact of Procurement Policy

Team Leader: Jak Koseff, chief director at the Office of the Premier, Gauteng Provincial Government, South Africa

Koseff emerged as one of the winners of the South African edition of the Startup Nations Policy Hack earlier this year and is ready to further refine the proposed solution with input from international peers and ecosystem actors. Koseff's team will tackle the problem of misalignment between the initial intention of South Africa's "30% SMME procurement policy" and its level of impact. This policy instrument enables small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) to access markets through the government budget by providing a pipeline to sell their goods and services. However, impact has been sub-optimal due to lack of reporting standards on the policy's implementation, and limited understanding of the 30 percent procurement rule among both governmental departments and potential beneficiaries. This team will seek to develop a set of more specific standards for monitoring and evaluating the 30 percent procurement policy, as well as for improving access for SMEs across all governmental departments and the private sector. 


Team 2:  A New Tool for Public Sector Innovation to Open New Markets

Team Leader: Mikk Vainik, startup policy advisor, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Estonia

There is a lot of innovation hidden in the public sector in Estonia, but these ideas are seldom brought to the public. One of the few lucky policy ideas has been the e-residency program, which has already had a profound effect on the Estonian economy. Vainik’s idea of an i-Estonia Accelerator is to create a system by which ideas of similar potential can become a reality. The system would be similar to a regular accelerator in nature, but built taking into account how e-Residency was developed. The proposed process will begin with an idea competition (policy hack), and the winners (up to five (5) ideas) would then receive support to turn their idea into a minimally viable policy. Those with good results (up to three (3) ideas) will receive funding to fully build out and implement the product/platform within the public sector. 


Team 3: A Multi-Pronged Approach to Corporate-Startup Collaboration  

Team Leader: Ozan Acar, Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, Turkey

Acar's team will work on an instrument that will help startups and corporations form partnerships. During the policy hack, his team will tackle the challenge of effectively bringing corporates and startups together to trigger mutually beneficial relationships. One part of the proposed solution is to create an initiative where startups willing to help corporates' digital transformation could be invited to pitch their business ideas to companies; another portion of the solution are tax incentives to corporates that purchase from the startups; and finally creating a Startup Friendly Corporate Awards.


Team 4: A Startup Act for Brazil

Team Leader: Felipe Matos, Vice President, Dínamo, Brazil​

After studying the Brazilian regulatory gaps and barriers for startups, and benchmarking best practices around the world, the Dinamo advocacy organization found out that there are many pieces of legislation that needed to be reformed, involving areas such as company incorporation, taxation and labor law. In order to face that, they would like to suggest to their government the creation of the Brazilian Startup Act. This legislative package would group several changes in different aspects of legislation in a single act. The team in Brazil have been using the Startup Nations Atlas of Policies (SNAP) to learn about the Italian Startup Act and other similar approaches as a reference. After returning from the policy hack in Indonesia, Matos and his local team plan to issue a public call for the ecosystem to gather contributions to the proposed text of the new Startup Act, which will be discussed among both Presidency administration and Congress, and the private entities of the ecosystem, in order to accelerate the passing of the project to the legislature. Matos is looking for team members who can contribute any of the following: a) ideas and benchmarks to propose the best possible changes in regulation; b) ideas on how to involve the ecosystem and government officials in the discussion; c) examples and ideas on how to accelerate the passing of new legislation regarding startups and innovation (media, public opinion, content creation, events, etc); and d) experience from policy advisors who have led similar processes for guidance and to bring more credibility to the initiative.


Team 5: Local Service Centers for Entrepreneurs

Team Leader: Alan Plummer, Entrepreneurship Cities Coordinator, Secretariat for Entrepreneurs & SMEs, Ministry of Production, Argentina

More than 36 Entrepreneurs Clubs have been recently created by the Ministry of Production across Argentina's cities as public spaces for meet-ups and other activities that generate cultural capital and training for entrepreneurs. The next milestone is to turn these Clubs into service centers for both entrepreneurs and existing SMEs.  Currently, very few entrepreneurs and SMEs access support mechanisms due to lack of information or because they consider that the application process is too complex. These service centers will address that problem by facilitating access to support programs. Challenges include: ensuring that the Clubs have the qualified human resources to carry out these services, ensuring financial sustainability for each Club, and ensuring continuity despite local political changes. As the Argentinean team at the Ministry of Production gears to meet with business chambers, universities, local governments and large corporates to explore joint action (e.g.,  working with SMEs from corporations' value chains and possibility funding these companies' participation in the Clubs), they hope to iterate their proof-of-concept solution with international feedback.


Team 6: Addressing the Gender Gap in Angel Investment in Latin America

Team Leader: Romina Díaz, Managing Director, GEN Peru

Entrepreneurial ecosystems have started to emerge in Latin America over the past decade. Yet, there is a key actor which has not been involved enough - women. For example, although there is a rising number of business angels networks in Latin America, the current proportion of women angel investors across the region is very low compared to their male counterparts.  Only 5%-10% of angel investors in the region are women. In Peruvian angel networks, there are fewer than ten women involved as investors in total. Outside of the capital city, that share drops even further. Research shows that the lack of participation of women in risk investment goes hand in hand with the lower chances of growth for women-led businesses. This team will hack a series of actions regarding awareness, education on angel investment, forming a regional network of female investors, and mentoring, as a comprehensive strategy to address the issue across five Latin American countries.


Team 7: Enabling Talent Flow via gAsia Pass

Team Leader: Yatin Thakur, Managing Director, GEN India

This team will discuss the features of a potential mechanism or protocol to build on the concept of "Startup Exchange Government API" which would connect incentive programs, startup visa programs, and tax benefits of individual countries onto the nascent gAsia Pass platform.


Local and global delegates to SNS 2018 who wish to join these teams in the hacking activity in Surabaya, Indonesia on November 16, 2018, should email highlighting the perspective or expertise they can bring to the table.

The Startup Nations Policy Hack is intended to help those who are ready to move from a relatively well-defined policy idea to a proof-of-concept stage. All are welcome to apply, and travel scholarships to SNS are available for selected team leaders. 

To review past outcomes of the various editions of the Startup Nations Policy Hack, please click here.


Cristina A. Fernandez

Vice President for Policy + Research | Global Entrepreneurship Network

Cristina Fernández focuses on integrating public officials into startup ecosystems across the world, creating platforms for them to exchange ideas… More