The Startup Nations Summit organizers have announced the selection of ten individuals to lead a team of delegates during the SNS Policy Hack. Team leaders were selected from a pool of nominations outlining real-world challenges, a preliminary idea of how to address them and a commitment to seek to test the hacked solution in their respective ecosystems. 

A policy hack is a collaborative way of developing a policy lever. Each policy hack team will consist of a team leader, peer policymakers and entrepreneurs. Team leaders will be supported by mentors to flesh out the design and implementation of their proposed solution.

Delegates to SNS Tallinn, taking place November 20-22 as  the official closing of Global Entrepreneurship Week, may request to be matched with one of the following team leaders by reaching out to Please state your experience in dealing with similar policy issues as your chosen team leader.

Meet the Team Leaders:

Rasha ElTantawy
Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center

Rasha will address the challenges of international expansion for agribusiness startups. She will seek to validate a policy tool to provide soft landing resources in foreign markets, via open dialogue between the cities and bilateral agreements that build on existing trade agreements and history of cooperation.

Itzel Villa
National Institute of the Entrepreneur (INADEM)

Mexico’s new fintech law – currently under consideration in Congress – calls for a regulatory sandbox to be set up so as to more effectively lead with disruption. Itzel will lead a team of fintech entrepreneurs and stakeholders on how to best structure this government-startup dialogue. 

Paul Jaakson  
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications 

Paul will address challenges in public procurement, such that strategic goals like innovation are no longer mere side effects of procurement policies, but rather core objectives. Paul will explore solving roadblocks in the procurement process for new entrants to the market via an online market engagement platform that would be integrated into the Estonian e-procurement register.

Thibault Verbiest
DS Avocats - Partner

Since 2003, the French Constitution (article 37-1) allows temporary derogations, known as "France Experimentation,” to certain regulatory provisions in order to test and evaluate in real conditions the consequences of new regulations. The government called in 2016 for innovative projects for which development was slowed or hindered by certain regulations. Based on that experience, Thibault will work towards a constitutional sandbox for renewed and strengthened France Experimentation process.

Ozan Acar
The Union of Chambers & Commodity Exchanges

Large enterprises are reluctant to purchase from the startups. Trust issues and resistance to change on the side of the corporates are the main culprits that impede the business relationship between the corporates and the startups to flourish. At the same time, startups have difficulties in reaching out to corporate executives. Ozan will therefore lead a team to creating a platform that will bring the corporates and the startups together, along with regulators, to explore tax incentives to the corporates that purchase from the startups.

Lieke Vollenbroek and Pieter Waasdorp
City of The Hague and Ministry of Economic Affairs, respectively
The Netherlands

Lieke and Pieter will join forces to create a startup label, which would be beneficial in both monitoring startup policy, as well as removing legal barriers for growth for startups. Creating a startup label would not just enable targeted incentives or regulatory exemptions to address bottlenecks for young companies, but also create valuable data for government.  Because such label would open opportunities to benefits for firms for a period of time, it is important to clearly define the group that can register as a startup and avoid disincentives for scaling.

Lenard Koschwitz  
Allied for Startups
European Union

As Director for Public Policy, Lenard aims to make data protection rules fit startups’ needs. He will therefore "hack" at SNS a framework for initiating a sandbox between national data protection regulators and startup associations for deeper understanding of data processing in the case of innovative small businesses. This sandbox would focus on ex-ante elements (wherever a startup needs to get approval before a product can be launched) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the single reference to businesses active in the EU. 

Joel Peetersoo
Ministry of Economic Affairs & Communications

Joel sees an opportunity in the vast amounts of data available from public and private databases. Estonia already has the capability to interconnect those data sources, but it has yet to capitalize on this new "raw material", to turn it into real-life solutions and enterprises. Joel will therefore lead a team to create a simulation environment that is connected to sources of private and public data about a specific Estonian county – Harjumaa –and build regulatory sandboxes so that technologies and scenarios that have proved safe, innovative, and promising can be launched in real life. The focus will be on mobility data.

Konrad Fernández Krzeminska
Start-Up Chile

Startups attracted by startup visas sometimes come, test the market, stay while there is funding money, get clients, gain global momentum, but end up eventually going back to ecosystems where growth funding is more easily available. Meanwhile private sector funding is available but not invested in startups.  Konrad will seek to validate a policy solution that creates incentives and a modern legal framework to connect international investors to local companies.

Ezrra Orozco
Ministry of the Economy

Vice Minister Orozco proposes achieving new digital instruments that facilitate investment in entrepreneurship and small enterprises. In so doing, he hopes to respond to the problem of entrepreneurs’ difficulty in finding the right funding sources to start and grow their businesses.  

Eric Smith
U.S. Economic Development Administration
United States

Eric is looking to a ‘hack’ solution to allow designing user-centered programs to be accessible widely. The end goal of his team will be a process that allows startup entrepreneurs to navigate the entire spectrum of ecosystem resources. They will work through a pilot of this process with a few organizations with related programs and develop a framework for replicating the process.


All interested participants are invited to attend any of the following policy hacks for a taste of what to expect at the SNS Policy Hack.

For more information about the SNS Policy Hack, please visit the FAQs.

The SNS Policy Hack is hosted by the Estonian Presidency of the EU and the Global Entrepreneurship Network and powered by Dell.