Posted on Apr 1, 2021, 9:08 a.m.Updated Apr 1, 2021, 9:10 AM

In an era punctuated by digital technology and new technologies, the usefulness of the lobbyist is necessary to support the economic models of tomorrow and to develop the regulatory ecosystem. This need should not be aimed only at large companies able to integrate this service into their budget, smaller companies also need to integrate lobbying into their overall strategy. From then on, small consulting structures can establish themselves as privileged allies of startups to guarantee the sustainability of their model.

A necessary liberation from the supposed constraints

The pejorative conceptions latent in the collective imagination associating lobbying with the permissive practices of large companies help to discourage small companies from integrating this discipline into their overall strategy. However, the regulatory authorities have motivated the integration of lobbying professionals as stakeholders in public life, in particular through the Sapin 2 law making the associated practices transparent. Added to this barrier of entry are the sometimes too expensive entry costs of services delivered by public affairs firms.

Entrepreneurs should not, however, turn their backs on lobbyists, but in some cases make it a strategic priority. Crystallizing their concerns about the relevance of their product, the sustainability of their business model, the sustained attention to competition, entrepreneurs find it difficult to gauge the return on investment of using such a service. However, the impact of new legislation on a young company can be irreparable by compromising the entire strategy of a company. Protecting a company’s interests then becomes vital in order to anticipate regulatory changes and be able to react to them.

From the creativity of entrepreneurs’ lobbying

In France, let us remember the creative lobbying operation for Heetch: a textbook case in France, so much the operation mixing advertising, engagement of audiences in a humorous, new tone, detonated. A few years earlier, the detection of Cow-Boy road safety radars had initiated the public affairs issues of young shoots, but in a more traditional approach in this case.

Startup and lobbying: a partnership driven by the public authorities themselves

In the United States, the perception of lobbying as a vital necessity for startups has already been understood for a few years. The internet majors have instilled in the change, but the real turning point has appeared with Uber and Airbnb who have recruited lobbyists, from their birth, sometimes from the American administration to guarantee the safeguard of their first interests. While GAFA lobbying spending quickly overtook that of the automotive sector, smaller companies followed suit. This approach proved to be differentiating, particularly during the fight in France between taxis and VTCs.

French startups then have every reason to resort to lobbying, particularly under the aegis of a favorable environment established by the French government, a supporter of the “startup nation”. At a time when many entrepreneurs have joined the hemicycle and the constitution of parliamentary study groups aimed at entrepreneurial issues, startups enjoy significant opportunities to participate in the public debate.

Sébastien Rouichi-Gallot is founder of bw / society.

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