The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), an organization of programs and initiatives that promote entrepreneurial growth, honored Neelie Kroes, Special Envoy for startups in the Netherlands, with the 2015 Startup Nations Award for Groundbreaking Policy Thinking. The award will be presented at the Startup Nations Summit in Monterrey, Mexico during Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 16-22, 2015).
Kroes was recognized for her instrumental analysis, innovative policy approaches and groundbreaking program concepts which significantly expand the frontier of entrepreneurship policy thinking in the Netherlands and throughout Europe.
“As governments become more sophisticated in engaging with startup communities, the work being done in Netherlands can serve as an example—not just throughout Europe but around the world,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. “Ms. Kroes’ continues to be an influential driver of groundbreaking policy thinking in the region.”
For the past six years, Kroes has helped put the subject of startups firmly on the agendas of major companies, banks, investors, government entities and knowledge institutes. She served as vice president of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda and put the topic of startups high on the European agenda.
After stepping down from the European Commission, Kroes was appointed to lead StartupDelta, an initiative to make the Netherlands the best connected startup ecosystem and in Europe’s top 3 for startups.
“The StartupDelta team and I are determined to make the Netherlands the epicenter of disruption for startups. The Dutch startups have an abundance of talent and great ideas and are rapidly building a strong and connected ecosystem," said Kroes. "We’re rolling out the orange carpet to any global startup hub, in order to attract venture capitalists, corporate partners and startups. Everyone needs to know that StartupDelta is Europe’s West-Coast for awesome startups."
Kroes was the driving force behind the Startup Europe programme that aims to strengthen the business environment for startups so that their ideas and business can start and grow in the European Union. Part of that programme was the Startup Leaders Manifesto, with inspiring founders from, Skype, Tuenti and Rovio, that was presented to the Chairman of the European Council, which inspired other national startup communities to do the same in their countries. This led a movement within the EU to change the business climate in favor of startups.
There will be nearly 100 delegates from 56 countries attending the Startup Nations Summit in Monterey, Mexico, where Sigrid Johannisse, director of Startup Delta, will accept the award on Kroes’ behalf. The Groundbreaking Policy Thinking Award is one of a series of three Startup Nations awards recognized at the Summit on Nov. 21, made possible through generous support from INADEM, Mexico's National Entrepreneurship Institute.
Runners-up for the Groundbreaking Policy Thinking Award included Felipe Matos, former COO at Startup Brazil; Omar Mohout, professor of entrepreneurship at Antwerp Management School in Belgium; Joao Melhado, policy and research coordinator at Endeavor Brazil; and Silvia Torres Carbonell, the director for the center of entrepreneurship at the IAE Business School in Argentina.
The selection committee based its decision in part on the program or initiative’s contribution to unveiling new angles, perspectives or policy areas brought to the entrepreneurship discussion table, the extent to which the nominee helped shift public discourse on startups and scale-ups in the public sector and ability to replicate the initiative or adapt it to other communities or policy areas.
About Startup Nations
Startup Nations is a global network of policymakers and program leaders focused on exploring different regulatory changes and policy ideas to help accelerate new and young firm formation. The organization hosts the Startup Nations Summit each year in a different city around the world, gathering its network of startup community leaders and policymakers. The Summit helps better enable high-impact entrepreneurship, especially through the identification of policy levers and smart, public sector driven programs. The Global Entrepreneurship Network co-hosts the event each year, and the Summit is held in late November, starting over the weekend culminating the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration.