2018 Policy Hack Teams

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

New team leaders and their policy challenges will be announced on a rolling basis until a maximum of eight teams is reached. The 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. Learn more about this opportunity, hereTo review past outcomes of the various editions of the Startup Nations Policy Hack, please click here.


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

Jak 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. Jak'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% procurement rule among both governmental departments and potential beneficiaries. This team will seek to develop a set more specific standards for monitoring and evaluating the 30% procurement policy, as well as for improving access for SMEs across all governmental departments and the private sector. 

Team members include:  

  • Alesimo Mwanga, Research Director, GEN Africa - 22 on Sloane, South Africa
  • Florence Kimata, SME Advisor to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperatives, Kenya
  • Shehu Abdulkadir, Special Assistant to the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria


Team 2: A new tool for public sector innovation to open new markets

Team leader: Mikk Vainik, Startup Policy Expert, 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. Mikk’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 5 ideas) would then receive support to turn their idea into a minimally viable policy. Those with good results (up to 3 ideas) will receive funding to fully build out and implement the product/platform within the public sector. 

Team members include:  

  • Aurelio Amaral, Partnerships and Policy Development Officer, World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), Qatar Foundation, Qatar
  • David Mihalik, Deputy Managing Director, Digital Success Program, Hungary
  • Senen Perlada, Director IV, Export Marketing Bureau, Department of Trade and Industry, The Philippines
  • Sylwia Marczyńska, Chief Expert, Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, Poland
  • Richard Walley, Manager of Science Policy, Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, New Zealand
  • Hunter Lin, Director CTO, CET office, Department of Economic Department, Taipei City Government


Team 3: A multi-pronged approach to corporate-startup collaboration  

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

Ozan’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 members include:  

  • Naomi Koeberg, Programme Manager, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), South Africa
  • Luis Limon, Advisor, B20 EE Task Force, Australia
  • Luke Nightingale, Head of SME Policy, Business Growth Directorate, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, United Kingdom


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, Dinamo found our that there 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 groups several changes in different aspects of legislation in a single act. The team in Brazil has 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, Felipe and his local team plans 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. Felipe 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 members include:  

  • Rafaela Nicolazzi, Advisory Board Member, Dinamo, Brazil
  • Roberto G. Volpe, Member of DG for Industrial Policy, Ministry of Economic Development, Italy
  • Lenard Koshwitz, Director European Affairs, Allied for Startups, Belgium
  • Leonardo Freitas, Deputy General Coordinator of Business Environments, Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications, Brazil
  • Bruno Bonifacio, Startup Specialist, Funding Authority for Studies and Projects (FINEP), Brazil 
  • Paulo Puppin, Assistant Manager, Innovation Unit, SEBRAE, Brazil


Team 5: Local Entrepreneurs Clubs as service centers that expand access to programs nationwide

Team leader: Alan Plummer, Entrepreneurship Cities Coordinator, Secretariat for Entrepreneurs and 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 activites 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 members include:  

  • Ursula Benincasa, Coordinator of the Incubator Program, Secretariat for Entrepreneurs and SMEs, Ministry of Production, Argentina
  • Ana Monge, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Specialist, ConQuito, Ecuador


Team 6: Enabling talent flow via a gAsia Pass 

Team leader: Yatin Thakur, Managing Director, GEN India

The “gAsia Pass” is a new initiative by GEN Asia in collaboration with public and private stakeholders, designed to allow entrepreneurs to acess markets, setup a new business, as well as get supported by different governments, all on a single pass. Six  countries - Taiwan, India, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, and New Zealand - have already shown support in the development of gAsia Pass.  Earlier this year, the group achieved the first milestone of building a formal exchange structure amongst entrepreneurs with a borderless entry using a blockchain-enabled platform. This team will now hack the next cross-border processes to provide entrepreneurs with priority approvals for residency or startup visas, along with local subsidies, with metrics to track use and effectiveness of the program.

Team members include:  

  • Marie Wall, Startup director and Deputy director, Division for Research, Innovation & Access to Finance, Ministry of Enterprise, Sweden
  • David Kuo, Managing Director, GEN Taiwan 
  • Andrew Outhwaite, Government’s Incubator Facilitator for Western Australia, Australia
  • Mark Hugh Sam, Advisor, GEN Taiwan


Team 7: Addressing the Gender Gap in Angel Investment in Latin America 

Team leader: Pamela Antonioli, Director of Innovation, Ministry of Production, Peru 

 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 members include:

  • Habiba Sumani, Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Development Department, National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Ghana 
  • Gonzalo Villaran, Executive of the Knowledge Development and Management Unit, "Innovate" Agency, Peru