Ten Times Startups Spoke Out on Policy in the Last 10 Years
By the Engine Advocacy & Foundation Team
The startup ecosystem is not a monolith. Startup founders, investors, and support organizations all have different missions, priorities, and business models, and none of them have the time or resources to spend following policymakers’ every move. But when startups join together to speak with one voice, policymakers listen.
As Engine turns 10, we’re celebrating a decade of work to #StandWithStartups and how we’ve raised the startup perspective for policymakers in D.C. Here are the 10 biggest ways that startups have influenced policy conversations in the last 10 years.
- As part of our efforts to bridge the gaps between policymakers and the entrepreneurs they represent, more than 150 startups have met with their members of Congress as part of our annual Congressional Startup Day each August.
- In our weekly #StartupsEverywhere profile series, startup founders and leaders of ecosystem support organizations across the country share their stories, including how policy impacts their ability to innovate and grow.
- Through our Innovate Without Fear initiative, startup founders have supported balanced patent policy that promotes patent quality and shared their stories of going up against “patent trolls” (companies that bring, or threaten to bring, meritless patent infringement lawsuits).
- More than 1,000 startups, innovators, investors, and entrepreneurial support organizations from all 50 states joined with us to call on the Federal Communications Commission to preserve net neutrality rules, which kept Internet service providers from charging companies for better access to their users.
- Over 100 startups joined together to call on the National Council for Expanding American Innovation to adopt a multifaceted approach to policies that will encourage more equitable and diverse participation in the country’s innovation ecosystem. We cited several of those startups in Engine’s comments on the council, which then became the basis for our booklet, Making the Startup Ecosystem More Equitable.
- Startup ecosystem members have repeatedly explained to policymakers the ways that tax incentives and policies help early-stage startups attract investment and employees, including our letter signed by hundreds of startups opposing changes to the taxation of non-qualified deferred compensation plans as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and our letter from earlier this year with more than 100 startups highlighting the value of the current tax treatment of Qualified Small Business Stock.
- Startup founders have joined policy conversations in D.C. directly with Engine’s Nuts and Bolts series — including on privacy, encryption, content moderation, state-based innovation policy, and global competition — where congressional staff learn about technology policy issues and hear about the impact policies have on startups.
- Startups have repeatedly called for a more humane immigration system that supports innovation in the U.S., including in our letter signed by more than 100 startups opposing a suspension of the H-1B visa program and in our letter signed by more than 70 startups calling on policymakers to create certainty and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
- More than 50 startups joined our letter in support of balanced copyright and intermediary liability frameworks in trade agreements, which help ensure that U.S. startups can expand and compete globally.
- In addition to always adding to our network of startups, we’re always adding to our network of entrepreneurs impacted by Internet policy, which is why we launched the Digital Entrepreneur Project, which tells the stories of the hundreds of thousands of small businesses writing, teaching, entertaining, creating, selling, and more, online.
Thank you to all of the startups, investors, ecosystem support organizations, and more that have joined our efforts over the last 10 years. Contribute to Engine Foundation to #StandWithStartups and ensure the startup voice is heard in policy conversations for the next 10 years.
Engine is a non-profit technology policy, research, and advocacy organization that bridges the gap between policymakers and startups. Engine works with government and a community of thousands of high-technology, growth-oriented startups across the nation to support the development of technology entrepreneurship through economic research, policy analysis, and advocacy on local and national issues.