Techleap

Political parties pay much more attention to startups and scaleups

2020 has been a difficult year for many people. For health care, but certainly also for the economy. Companies have gone bankrupt and many people have lost their jobs. But with the announcement of a working vaccine there is hope on the horizon. In 2021 we will be able to think again about how we will grow, how we will create new jobs and how we will make the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy.

#KickstartNL

Startups and scaleups are eager to make a contribution to that and Techleap.nl has launched the election manifesto #KickstartNL. This manifesto contains 10+ points that enable startups and scaleups to give the economy a kickstart and create more jobs in these difficult economic times. Even during this corona crisis, startups and scaleups have continued to grow by 4% and the potential is much higher.

Techleap.nl calls on the next cabinet to take up this challenge and turn it into policy. This starts with the election programs of the parties that will negotiate a new coalition agreement after the elections. In recent weeks and months, several political parties have presented their draft election program. We will take a look at the draft election programs to see how much attention is paid to startups and scaleups. What concrete measures do the parties propose?

General

Many parties see the importance of startups and scaleups to get out of this economic crisis and the potential to contribute to a more sustainable economy. According to GroenLinks, small and medium-sized businesses and startups are the economic heart of the Netherlands. The VVD and CDA emphasize the pioneering role of startups and scaleups and their importance for employment and D66 even devotes a separate chapter to the unique situation and ambition of startups and scaleups.

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Support talent needs

The current economic situation is the time to focus on retraining so that people can find a job again. On one hand, there are sectors where there is little work left, on the other hand, there are startups and scaleups that have a great need for digital talent and programming schools that can train them. Political parties also see this challenge and opportunity:

  • D66: We increase the training capacity for students in engineering, ICT and artificial intelligence throughout the entire secondary education. We aim for 1,000 Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science graduates per year from 2022 onwards. The so-called STEP budget is an important tool for retraining. In this retraining, there will be explicit space for digital skills. We make it easier for startups and scaleups to attract and retain top talent. We make it possible to pay shares or options in a start-up as a salary.
  • VVD: The VVD wants to help find talented employees with whom startups can grow.
  • PvdA: The PvdA advocates a job guarantee so that people can retrain, for example, to become ICT professionals. The election program states: With the job guarantee people can retrain themselves to find work elsewhere, without immediately losing their income.
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Facilitate access to capital

In order to give those digital talents a job, startups and scaleups need investments. This also needs political attention in their election programs:

  • VVD: Venture capital is fiscally stimulated by an exemption in Box 3.
  • CDA: The investment funds InvestNL and InvestInternational will be opened up to small and medium enterprises and promising startups and scaleups.
  • D66: We make investments in startups and scaleups more attractive. Private individuals should be able to deduct losses from their taxes after risky investments in young companies. This is already happening in the United Kingdom. 
  • Groenlinks: We encourage startups that contribute to a green and fair economy. We do this by opening up the Climate Fund (a 60 billion euro fund yet to be set up) for them. 
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Merge technology with entrepreneurship

The new enterprise is together.  Scientific knowledge, data and technology may be the key to the future, but entrepreneurship is needed to have a social and economic impact. Many parties see strengthening that collaboration as an important element to help startups and scale-ups grow. 

  • VVD: We improve the access of startups to innovation schemes such as the WBSO, and to the research and underlying data of public knowledge institutions. We also make it easier for startups to collaborate with educational institutions and the business community
  • CDA: CDA wants to invest in strong regional ecosystems: We invest in infrastructure and accessibility and give impulses to innovation and research. We pay specific attention to good preconditions for (digital) startups and scaleups in these clusters.
  • D66: Startups play an essential role in innovative ecosystems. They challenge established companies with new ideas and techniques. We, therefore, stimulate cooperation between universities, incubators and field labs.
  • Groenlinks: Startups are drivers of the new economy. Innovations by means of apps, (bio)medical technology, games, platforms and 3D printing are an integral part of our society. We stimulate startups that contribute to a green and fair economy [...] by strengthening (European) networks between startups, knowledge institutions and larger companies.
  • PvdA: Among other things, we want to invest extra in [...] research and innovation.
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Other ideas

Besides the ideas covered in the manifesto, political parties also have other interesting ideas that can make running a startup or scaleup easier, such as: 

  • CDAFamily businesses will have a permanent contact person at the regional office of the Tax and Customs Administration in order to be able to arrange other tax matters quickly and easily. We also arrange this for SMEs, startups and scaleups.
  • D66We want to give entrepreneurs the freedom to test new ideas on a small scale. This is also called the sandbox model. Only when scaling up do companies have to comply with a stricter interpretation of the rules.

Conclusion

Political parties pay much more attention to startups and scale-ups than 4 years ago. The potential of startups and scaleups to create jobs is seen and parties are trying to help startups and scaleups grow with different measures. On some topics, even majorities have emerged, such as investing in research and innovation and strengthening ecosystems. On other points, further elaboration is still needed but where there is a will there is a way. All in all, it promises a lot for the coming formation.


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