We declare the intention to establish a network of democratic and independent European Startup Associations

Innovation and entrepreneurship is creating positive change at a faster rate than ever before. The daily life of every individual is positively influenced by innovative ideas, business models, business processes and the repeated improvement of business practices. In light of this phenomenon the term “startup” emerged. Startups can come in all forms, but are united in their association with (potentially) fast growth in their search for a scalable and innovative business model. They are mostly, but not exclusively, technology-oriented companies, many of which seek to disrupt an existing market or to create a new market.

Startups are job creators and are often referred to as a symbol of the new economy and the proof that maximum output can be achieved with minimal input. The importance of startups is not only proven by the number of jobs created by them in Europe, but especially by the influence of these young innovative companies in all sectors of society, including the policy environment and capital markets. Existing legislation affecting startups has been created with traditional business environments in mind and therefore  many startups are now facing significant legal and regulatory challenges. European and national legislators are reaching out to hear a common voice of European Startups to give informed solutions to often complex questions.

In order to make rapid legislative adaption possible, startups have to be understood and the relevant areas of improvement need to be clearly identified. This should be done by combining scientific research with practical knowledge and best practice examples of all European startup ecosystems. The national startup associations are more than willing to work together, share best practices and leverage their national networks at a European level to coordinate actions and communicate together for the benefit of their national startups.

With the intent to connect the national startup ecosystems across Europe that forms a platform for best practice exchange and to allow European policy suggestions be made by and for founders, the  startup associations below commit to creating a European Startup Network.

This network will work on three areas:

  • Scientific research to create transparency and hard facts as basis for policy making.
  • Policy formation and campaigning
  • Further development of the European entrepreneurs’ network

In building such a European Startup Network, we need to guarantee a transparent and independent organisation – free to speak up on behalf of the startups; a credible voice backed by startups, and engagement in a common exchange of information across nations and communities. Other non-profit startup associations that undertake research and campaigning on behalf of entrepreneurs are welcome to join the network. The main goal of the European Startup Network is to harmonise the European startup ecosystems with respect to: the legal environment, market access and entrepreneurial culture within each country.

As members of the European Startup Network, we kindly invite any national organisation that has a clear endorsement from the startups. This can be indicated by fulfilling the the following criteria:

Fully representation of startups (backed by startups / entrepreneurs), proven by:

  • membership of a representative number of startups
  • involvement in a regional/national startup manifesto with respective traction (that was created by the national startups/entrepreneurs)

Independence, proven by:

  • transparency of sources and spending of income
  • having more than one financial supporter
  • democratic structures (e.g. being membership based)

Non Profit

After applying for membership, the board individually decides democratically based on the criteria set above. In some cases the membership might be in a pending state, if the applicants have shown commitment on fulfilling the set criteria. The European Startup Association will support pending members in