Policymakers, advisors and startup community leaders from more than 70 countries kicked off the 2016 Startup Nations Summit in Cork, Ireland today. It marks the first time that the gathering has been held in Europe – following previous summits in Toronto, Canada; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Seoul, Korea; and Monterrey, Mexico.

The summit began with sessions led by Startup Nations and the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network to identify priorities for Ireland’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, as well as crowd-sourcing burning questions about how to best stimulate and support new firm formation.

“Policymakers everywhere are searching for proven approaches to promote entrepreneurial growth,” said Jonathan Ortmans, chair of the Startup Nations Summit and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. “The summit accelerates knowledge-sharing on effective and efficient policy efforts underway in strong entrepreneurial economies.”

The highlight of the day was a session for government representatives from countries participating in the upcoming SME Ministerial at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March 2017. The session, led by Amisha Miller of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Anders Hoffman, deputy director general of the Danish Business Authority, explored the governments’ startup policy agendas and worked to define content and formats for the Ministerial meeting in March. In addition to government representatives from 20 countries, participants in the secretariat included representatives of the European Commission and World Bank.

The Startup Nations Summit continues throughout the weekend – it serves as the official capstone to Global Entrepreneurship Week which was celebrated this year by 10 million people in 165 countries.

Highlights still to come include the launch of a new online portal that can serve as a tool for governments to strengthen their policy efforts and the presentation of the Startup Nations Awards to recognize startup-savvy policymakers and experts implementing innovative public policies and programs to help entrepreneurs start and scale new businesses in their countries and around the world.

Photo Credit: Kathryn Forrest Twitter