Global advocacy body Allied for Startups (AFS) has launched a new Advisory Board to navigate an unprecedented moment of crisis for startups.
The new female-dominated board includes leading tech and policy experts from around the world, including policymakers, founders and investors from Europe, Africa and America, who will come together at a defining moment for newly-born businesses, bringing their diverse experiences to the table and guiding the policy conversation to help startups through 2020 and beyond.
The organisation, which was founded in 2014, reaches across 33 countries and four continents and is one of the main global voices for startups worldwide in politics and government. Its new board will guide the activities of Allied for Startups on a strategic level, raise awareness of critical issues, and function as a springboard for new ideas and policy objectives for the organisation.
Among the members of the new AFS Advisory Board are Robert Madelin, former European Commission Digital Director-General, Kathryn Brown, former President of the Internet Society, Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament, and Mathew Kwame Tsamenyi, Executive Director of one of the largest business schools in Africa.
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“Startups will be the champions and unicorns that drive our economic recovery from this crisis, and the innovators that will make our society more resilient going forward,” said Allied for Startups CEO Melissa Blaustein.
“We need new ideas and a diversity of perspectives to overcome the challenges and realise the opportunities of this defining moment for startups.”
A recent study conducted in collaboration with 120 VC funds shows that more than 90% of startups worldwide have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, with one in three forced to let go of full-time employees. The Board’s top priority will be to ensure that startups get the support they need to survive the crisis brought about by the pandemic. Their plan is to, first of all, ensure that outdated rules like those governing state aid for companies, which often favour large incumbents, do not continue to hinder access to vital aid for startups in the wake of COVID-19.
The Advisory Board will also try to shape and push for a new regulatory environment that supports innovation, as they believe that crises can also turn into big opportunities for dynamic and reactive startup companies. History shows that more than 50 unicorns were founded during the 2008 crisis and nearly 18% of startups have already pivoted in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Moreover, the new Board will focus on the EU’s upcoming Digital Services Act (DSA), which can help startups by simplifying legal requirements. They plan to advocate for harmonised national rules and simplified compliance to ensure that startups can compete with incumbents on a level playing field.