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IE University signs agreement with the U.S. Department of State to jointly kick off the Tech4Democracy initiative

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Tech4Democracy seeks to identify entrepreneurs around the globe who build and advance democracy-affirming technologies, in order to help ensure that democratic values underpin technological development.

IE University has partnered with the U.S. Department of State to implement the Tech4Democracy initiative in 2022. On March 2, 2022, IE University (represented by Provost Manuel Muñiz) and the U.S. Department of State (represented by U.S. Ambassador to Spain Julissa Reynoso) signed an agreement at IE Tower in Madrid to officially kick off the initiative.

Following the White House’s Summit for Democracy, Tech4Democracy will contribute to the Summit’s “Year of Action” by identifying and connecting entrepreneurs around the world who build and advance democracy-affirming technologies. This will be achieved through a series of startup/scaleup competitions, as well as a line of applied research that aims to anticipate the future technological needs of our democracies.

“The MOU that Provost Muñiz and I signed today shows IE University’s commitment to the values that President Biden and the Summit for Democracy are advancing, which it does through the original, groundbreaking Tech4Democracy Challenge,” said U.S. Ambassador to Spain Julissa Reynoso. “We know that new technologies can move society forward, and IE’s project calls upon the most innovative and creative sector to do so: the social entrepreneur,” she added.

“Tech4Democracy will help us identify and highlight technologies that advance democratic values and norms. This is a key challenge as emerging technologies become ever more central to our societies and economies. We need to make sure that technological advancement is a tool for the enhancement of freedom, equality, and inclusion. Academic institutions, as conveners of talent and seats of innovation, must play their part. This is what IE University is doing with this initiative,” said IE University Provost Manuel Muñiz.

Tech4Democracy consists of two interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars:

  • Global Entrepreneurship Challenge to identify entrepreneurs who are building and advancing democracy-affirming technologies. This will be achieved through five startup/scaleup competitions held throughout the second half of 2022 in cities spanning the democratic world. The competitions will bring together experts, investors, and entrepreneurs in order to identify key innovations to foster democratic values. A final global competition will be held concurrently with the second Summit for Democracy, scheduled for December 2022.
  • long-term line of applied research that will highlight lessons learned from the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge, map the current state of the field of democracy-affirming technologies, and draw its perimeter. The first deliverable will be a report on “Technology for Democracy and Social Good”, produced by IE University and a team of world-class experts and scholars. This report will be of use to policymakers, investors, and entrepreneurs who wish to advance democracy-affirming technologies. It will be published in December 2022 to coincide with the final global competition and the second Summit for Democracy.

The Tech4Democracy initiative is being implemented by three IE University centers: IE’s Center for the Governance of Change (CGC)IE’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, and IE’s PublicTech Lab. The CGC is the coordinator of the initiative and the point of contact with the U.S. State Department.

Watch a short video of U.S. Ambassador Reynoso’s visit to IE Tower: