Startup Nations Policy Journal - Q1 2020
Photo Credit: Startup Nations
Startup Nations, a global network of public sector officials and policy advisors, focused on stimulating new firm formation - periodically brings you a summary of recent policy developments.
Cristina A.
16 Mar 2020

Startup Nations - a global network of public sector officials and policy advisors focused on stimulating new firm formation - periodically brings you a summary of recent policy developments.

We are also currently actively sharing examples of government measures to address the impact of COVID-19 crisis via our specialized Slack channel for members of the Startup Nations policy community. You may request an invitation to 

These have been some of the policy achievements reported by our members from around the world before the pandemic became the focus of policy efforts. For more examples of policy instruments to address the various types of barriers to entrepreneurship, please check the latest entries to the Startup Nations Atlas of Policies (SNAP). 


Addressing Regulatory or Policy Barriers


The European Commission calls for a Startup Nations scoreboard

On March 10th, the European Commission presented a new SME Strategy with the objective of making Europe the best place to start a business and grow. While many recommendations are tailored for traditional SMEs, it also addresses many of the needs of the startup founders. For example:

  • To make it easier for SMEs to operate in the single market and beyond, the Commission proposes actions to remove regulatory and practical obstacles to scaling up. 
  • To make it more accessible for SMEs to go public in Europe, the Commission will also support an SME Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) Fund. 
  • It will also empower female entrepreneurship by stimulating investment in women-led companies and funds. 
  • The Commission invites Member States to ensure one-stop shop assistance to companies. 
  • The Commission will work with EU Member States on developing a "Startup Nations Standard", a scoreboard to share and adopt best practices to accelerate growth of high-tech SMEs and start-ups. Our platform has been called on to collaborate. Stay tuned. 

 Learn more, here.


Albania seeks to address barriers via a comprehensive Startup & Innovation Program

Startup Nations member Florensa Haxhi, Director General, Development Programs and Cooperation Unit, from the Albanian Prime Minister's Office, shared information about the barriers to entrepreneurship her government identified and how the Startup and Innovation Program (SIP) is addressing them by creating via a multi-pronged approach: a) a National Program for startups and innovation; b) a Startup Law c) Three support centers; d) Strengthening cooperation between ecosystem actors.

Read more about the objectives of Albania's Startup and Innovation Program and connect with Florensa via the Startup Nations Atlas of Policies platform. 


Ecuador passed a new legislative framework for entrepreneurs

On Jan 7, 2020, the Ecuadorian National Assembly passed a new legislative framework for entrepreneurship. The Law includes the adoption of Crowdfunding and reforms to curricular reforms to promote entrepreneurship in the education system. Likewise, the law creates a National Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CNEI), the Technical Secretariat of the National Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the National Strategy for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

GEN Ecuador's leadership from the Alliance for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Ecuador (AEI), a public-private organization launched in 2014 the "2020 Strategy for an Entrepreneurial and Innovative Country" which served as the basis for stakeholder alignment towards this major political achievement in favor of entrepreneurs. 

Learn more, here


Finance Minister asks South African Parliament to consider startups in the 2020/2021 budget

“Start-ups will ignite the economy,” Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told Parliament as they discussed the budget for the 2020/2021 financial year last month. “The tax system supports them in a number of ways, including the preferential small business tax regime, the VAT registration threshold and the turnover tax," he expressed. The Minister committed to reviewing these to improve their effectiveness while at the same time reducing the scope for fraud and abuse. 

The global startup economy is worth nearly $3 trillion, a rise of 20% in two years, according to the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER). That is larger than the GDP of the UK, France, or Brazil. Minister Mboweni wants to see a flourishing startup industry tapping into that $3 trillion market, analysts say.

Read his full speech, here.


Efforts to Strengthen Support Systems


Saudi Arabia releases results from BADIR-incubated technology startups 

The Saudi government issued a new metrics for the national accelerator program, BADIR. Compiled by the Business Incubators and Accelerators Company (BIAC), which manages and operates the program, the report reflects results from 8 incubators in 7 regions. BADIR strives to advance technology entrepreneurship across Saudi Arabia not just through incubation and acceleration, but also through comprehensive national programs and strategic policy initiatives in cooperation with governmental entities, the private sector, and universities.

The report revealed that venture capital firms were the most active in 2019 in terms of funding size, investing SR 203 million into startups, equivalent to 40% of the total amount of funding and investment, while private sector companies provided SR 168 million, 33% of the total funding.

Learn more, here.


UK National Audit Office reports on the country's business support schemes

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) administers more schemes to support businesses than any other department in the British government, costing around £2.4 billion a year. The report found both strengths and weaknesses in the management of the 10 schemes in its sample. Most schemes in the report’s review lacked measurable objectives from the outset or evaluations of their impact to know if they are providing the most value or if they should be discontinued.

This report includes an assessment of how the Department set up and managed a sample of 10 of its schemes against a set of good-practice criteria the Audit Office derived from its previous reports and government guidance.

Learn more, here.

Addressing Barriers in Access to Capital


Innóvate Perú assigns US$19 million for its startup ecosystem in 2020

Peru's Ministry of Production has set aside an initial $19 million to stimulate its startup scene via investment in innovative startups, as well as by supporting relevant institutions in the ecosystem, such as accelerators.

The Innóvate Perú government-funded program channeled in 2019 a total amount of US$20.2 million towards 463 projects related to innovation, tech entrepreneurship, and productive development.

Read more, here. 


UK Chancellor argues for the creation of an SME bond market

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has long been arguing that the government should support the creation of an investment exchange for SMEs, where ordinary savers, every citizen, could lend money to small businesses, trading bonds like shares. This 'Retail Bond Exchange' would generate fresh capital for entrepreneurs who are currently too reliant on a few big banks for credit, while giving those seeking to save money via tax-saving bonds an attractive fixed return.

Learn more about his proposals, here.


Addressing Talent & Skills Barriers 


Canadian province addresses talent gap with a specialized Startup Visa Stream

On March 4th, the government of the province of Alberta, Canada, announced it will offer fast-track visa processing to U.S. graduates who commit to launching a start-up in Alberta. This Startup Visa Stream will offer a bridge to permanent residency. Similar fast-track opportunities will be offered to foreign nationals who have graduated from Alberta’s post-secondary institutions under a new Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Program. Economic Development Minister Tanya Fir said:“We know that a shortage of workers with relevant skills and experience is a barrier to growing Alberta’s tech sector”. Some local stakeholders see these efforts as part of the government's attempt to find new ways to support the technology sector after cancelling a suite of tax credits.

Learn more, here.


Addressing Barriers in Access to Markets


UK government initiative helping Indian firms go global

The British Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP), a program of the UK Department for International Trade initiative, established in 2005 is  now seeking to nurture further ties with Indian entrepreneurs, who are looking to scale up their operations and go global by making Britain their international base. The GEP set out to help build stronger bilateral ties between India and the UK, to improve government-government know-how in terms of what policies instruments to nurture the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Since the program started 15 years ago, it is estimated that roughly over £1.5 billion worth of economic value has been created in the UK, reflecting the new jobs created and the increase in the valuation of companies that have set up base. The program works with the help of a group of dealmakers tasked with enabling FDI to come into the UK. Once in the UK, the program supports these businesses to scale-up and internationalize.

Learn more, here



For more policy news, please check the latest entries to the Startup Nations Atlas of Policies.

Would you like to share policy updates from your city or country with our global community, or join the Startup Nations policy network? Contact us via

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

Sarolta Borzási

Director for Government + Investor Engagement | Global Entrepreneurship Network

Sarolta's work focuses on building relationships between public policy experts around the world via Startup Nations network and managing… MORE