POLICY ENTREPRENEURSHIP NETWORK

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STARTED: Incubation Program 2019

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Joel Burke
Co-founder

SEED GRANT: $25,000

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SHUT DOWN: End of 2020

The Policy Entrepreneurship Network focused on accelerating innovation in neglected areas of public health policy in the EU's eastern neighborhood.

ACHIEVEMENTS: 

  • Between mid-2019 and early 2021, Michał Trzęsimiech launched a successful feasibility study in Ukraine, where P.E.N. designed and co-executed a digital advocacy campaign to raise taxes on tobacco products.

  • Between mid-2019 and early 2020, Joel Burke independently found partners to coalesce with in Armenia before leaving the project.

WHY DID THE PROJECT SHUT DOWN?

  • Co-founder pairing didn't work

  • Trouble securing funds to scale the project

  • The outbreak of COVID-19 shifted global attention away from non-communicable diseases

KEY LEARNINGS

  • Michał has shifted to an executive role in a more established political startup.

  • Joel still believes alcohol and tobacco tax is a promising area of policy innovation and wouldn’t discount due to past lack of success. However, there are challenges such as industry opposition and the need to engage Ministries of Finance as well as Ministries of Health.

  • It is useful to have good connections to donors – e.g., though the EA community.