GEN Announces Finalists for Startup Nations Award for Local Policy Leadership
Wray Bradner
5 Oct 2017

The Global Entrepreneurship Network announced four finalists for the Startup Nations Award for Local Policy Leadership. The award recognizes public sector achievement at the local level in championing innovative policies or programs that advance new and young firm formation.

The award is one of three Startup Nations Awards that will be presented at the Startup Nations Summit on Tuesday, November 21. The winner will be the third recipient of the award, which was previously received by Bart De Wever, mayor of Antwerp, Belgium, and María José Vengoechea, executive president of the Barranquilla Chamber of Commerce in Colombia.

The other two Startup Nations Awards are Groundbreaking Policy Thinking and National Policy Leadership.

The Selection Committee evaluated nominations based on the following criteria:

  • Clarity in the identification of the bottleneck(s) affecting the local ecosystem
  • Level of innovativeness of the specific policy lever(s) or program idea(s)
  • Level of personal commitment to shifting local government thinking on entrepreneurship
  • Extent to which the local effort helped set the example for national level action
  • Availability of metrics or evidence to show the impact of the policymaker’s efforts
  • Extent to which it is possible to replicate efforts, adapting to other policy areas or other ecosystems

This year, the four finalists for the Local Policy Leadership Award hail from four different countries, and have contributed to their community as a startup champion through a variety of initiatives ranging from ecosystem coordination and collaboration, to promoting entrepreneurship education and innovative skills building in local communities.

Below are the four finalists for the 2017 Startup Nations Award for Local Policy Leadership.

Jorge Lawson
Former Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Mining, Province of Cordoba
Director, Argentinean National Bank (Banco de la Nación Argentina)

Mr. Lawson designed and implemented a plethora of programs and policies during his time as a regional policy leader in the Province of Cordoba, all with a vision to build an ecosystem that can continue to develop, well-past government support. He instituted the Province’s SME and Entrepreneurial Development Secretariat. His legacy proved to be self-sustainable, as ecosystem coordination and collaboration continues via the “Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Córdoba,” an entity that he formed in 2012 with 65 different organizations with legal capacity. Mr. Lawson’s vision allowed the Province to more effectively address capacity building gaps across different types of business: traditional, new, young, and high-growth.

Charles Cracknell
Youth Enterprise Manager, Hull City Council
United Kingdom

As elected representative on Humberside County Council and Hull City Council, Mr. Cracknell brought to the city-level public sector the voice of young entrepreneurs, having devoted his student years as a grassroots advocate for enterprising youth. He established a range of enterprise education and youth entrepreneurship programs in the City of Hull. Mr. Cracknell also helped establish a new fund for 13 to 21 years olds who are launching new ventures in the fields of science, engineering, technology and healthcare. This policy tool provides them with seed funds along with mentorship.

Frank Aguirre
Business Development Manager, Office of Los Angeles Mayor
United States 

Mr. Aguirre is a collaboration-oriented public official who created synergies between the local and the national policy efforts to support entrepreneurs. Most recently, he successfully led the City of Los Angeles proposal in response to the Start Up in a Day “Dream-Big” competition, which was launched at the national level by the United States Small Business Administration. The City proposed an open-source web portal to help streamline the process through which business owners apply for permits. The idea won the top prize of $250,000, which will help L.A. launch the portal within a year, as announced by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The portal will be open-source so other cities can replicate it free of charge.

Rebecca Palmer
Member, Barrie/Simcoe Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Committee and Founder, EntreLaunch 

Ms. Palmer has focused on access to skills by providing entrepreneurial education, workshops and events to youth aged 10-24, many of which in collaboration with the local government authorities, particularly in the Simcoe county. Ms. Palmer works closely with the City of Barrie to help develop the city's approach to entrepreneurship, as well as with other ecosystem actors like Georgian College's Entrepreneurial Advisory Board. She is also currently working on developing a new microloan program that provide access to capital to youth under the age of 19, and as such continues to test programs that could be then scaled by public sector agencies.

Jessica Wray Bradner

Marketing Manager | Local Entrepreneur

Jessica is a former multimedia journalist with a background in print and online media. At the Global Entrepreneurship Network, she created daily… More

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… MORE