In cities all over the world, local governments are playing a key role in strengthening startup and tech ecosystems by trying to create an environment in which businesses, knowledge institutions, talent and investors can find each other with ease. Consequently, a buzzing, startup-minded ecosystem allows startups to mature and grow into profitable drivers of employment and innovation. This is good for both the future prosperity and well-being of a city.

Amsterdam has always been a front-runner and ambassador for governments to get more involved in their local startup scenes. With the aim to inspire and teach, as well as learn from fellow startup cities, StartupAmsterdam, supported by several partners, initiated Startup City Alliance Europe (SCALE).

SCALE.CITIES - the next chapter of SCALE – is a global network of civil servants and public officials that aims to facilitate knowledge and network sharing, as well as develop projects, that consequently, benefit all startup ecosystems.

How SCALE operates

The emphasis of SCALE.CITIES is on the role of the government in activities and initiatives that strengthen local startup and tech ecosystems. Participants representing particular municipalities or private-public organisations are continuously engaged in setting up and executing projects and programmes aimed at knowledge transfer, establishing permanent personal contacts and growing together.

By way of personal meetings, international trips, internal correspondence, and the open portal SCALE.CITES, partners can exchange exclusive research and insights into local ecosystems, improve visibility of their own startup hubs, and strengthen their organisation through promotional activity, workshops and international support networks.

On the platform, city representatives map out their respective startup ecosystems with the relevant contact details, links, and news updates, add local flagship events and network with partners. SCALE.CITIES also direct their attention towards building an extensive database of best practices such as initiatives, projects, and legislative procedures, analysing them and consulting cities on the applicability, usefulness and scalability thereof.

Laying the foundations for SCALE

On 25 May 2016, startup organisations of European cities London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Helsinki, Stockholm, Rome, Brussels, Oslo and Lisbon came together in Amsterdam to lay the foundation for SCALE. At this first meeting, which took place at B.Amsterdam (a founding member), the representatives joined roundtables to discuss topics such as governmental support, legal issues, transparency, metrics and connecting startups.

It was the first time that so many startup organisations from European cities came together to join forces for the benefit of startups that want to scale. Naturally, the input of startups was also appreciated. According to Beekman, “too often policies are made without involving the ones they’re really about. For the first SCALE meeting, we asked every startup organisation to bring the founder of their city’s most promising startup. At the meeting, these startups could present their insights on scaling up and gave advice to the startup organisations.”

In the following years, the network strengthened and more cities joined or expressed their interest in joining. So much so that it was decided to organise StartupCity Summit in May 2017 and the second edition in May 2018.

Ultimately, SCALE.CITIES strives to have global presence with partners in each part of the world and focus on strengthening ecosystems via city-to-city information exchange and collaborative consultancy projects with ecosystem builders. The formal launch of the network SCALE.CITIES is scheduled for the beginning of 2019.

If you’re a representative from your local city government (a city servant or a policy advisor) or an ecosystem builder from the private sector with strong ties to the municipality and you are interested in joining the SCALE.CITIES network, reach out to Kriya Mehta at k.mehta@amsterdam.nl.

For updates, follow SCALE.CITIES on Twitter and Linkedin and check out the website for more information.

SCALE partners:  B.Amsterdam | StartupAmsterdam | Antwerpenm-startup-barcelona | Berlin.de | Startups.be | Brussels Enterprise Agency | City of Helsinki | Câmara Municipal de Lisboa | Startup Lisboa | London & Partner | Ville de Luxembourg | Madrid Startup House | City of Milan | Munich startup | Oslo Business Region | Porto Digital | ScaleUP PortoParis&Co | Prague | Roma startup | Stockholm Business Region | Vienna Business Agency | Go Vilnius |