Skip to main content
Shaping Europe’s digital future logo
Digibyte | Publication

New European Alliance to accelerate startups growth

The Portuguese government, in partnership with 26 EU Member States, Iceland, and the European Commission, has launched the European Startup Nations Alliance (ESNA) today.

Logo of ESNA

The European Startup Nations Alliance (ESNA) is a new entity that will support 26 EU Member States and Iceland who, having signed the EU Startup Nations Standard (EU SNS) declaration in March 2021, commit to ensuring their startups have the best conditions to grow at every stage of their life cycle.

ESNA will support these countries’ efforts to become a ‘startup nation’. It will do this through:

  • sharing of best practices as set out in the EU SNS;
  • providing technical support to countries to concretely implement changes;
  • monitoring progress.

ESNA will work closely with the 27 European countries that have signed up to the EU SNS and support them in implementing the 8 underpinning standards:

  1. fast startup creation and smooth market entry (e.g. setting up a new company within one day);
  2. attracting and retaining talent (e.g. an accelerated visa process for tech talent from outside the EU);
  3. stock options (e.g. no taxes for stock options before being cashed in);
  4. innovation in regulation (e.g. regulatory sandboxes allowing startups to experiment);
  5. innovation procurement (e.g. removing administrative impediments that would put startups at a disadvantage);
  6. access to finance (e.g. increasing the amount and diversity of growth capital);
  7. social inclusion, diversity and protecting democratic values (e.g. incentives to hire on diversity of gender, ethnicity, age and religion);
  8. digital-first (e.g. all interactions between authorities and startups via digital interfaces).

The launch of the ESNA took place during the second day of the Web Summit in Lisbon, officiated by the Portuguese Minister for the Economy Pedro Siza Vieira.

The ESNA will also support countries that hold the rotating European Council Presidency. It will do this via the ‘ESNA Presidency Board’ which ensures ESNA can align its actions with the priorities of rotating presidencies.