Impact of Business Environment Reforms on New Firm Registration

We know that developing countries need entrepreneurship — especially formal entrepreneurship — in order to drive growth, expand access to opportunity, and address youth unemployment. Yet only 4,000 to 5,000 new firms register each year in places like Belarus, Guatemala, and Tunisia. Can business environment reforms, as prescribed by Hernando de Soto and spotlighted by the World Bank’s Doing Business project, make the difference?

Searching the World Bank’s Entrepreneurship Database for business registry data, Leora Klapper and Douglas Randall analyze what business environment reforms mean in practice. The upshot: big reforms can boost private sector activity but token reforms do not. Their important research is summarized in the “Impact of Business Environment Reforms on New Firm Creation,” the latest release from CIPE’s Economic Reform Feature Service.

This article is excerpted from the forthcoming thought leader report on “Creating the Environment for Entrepreneurial Success.”

Kim Bettcher

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NFTE Announces 2013 World Series of Innovation

To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) will once again host the annual World Series of Innovation presented by Microsoft! This year’s Series will feature challenges from Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Pitney Bowes, SAP, and a special group of challenges from the Howard G. Buffett Foundations’ 40 Chances initiative.  NFTE is inviting educators and students from around the world to participate and engage in this fun, creative, inventive process – all with a chance for some great prizes!

Here is a step by step guide for getting involved:

1. Follow the link provided. This will give you access to this year’s planning toolkit, which provides a clear understanding of this year’s WSI guidelines. Teachers and program leaders are encouraged to register now to receive the toolkit and accompanying curriculum early, in order to include the World Series of Innovation as they plan their fall schedule.

2. Reach out to program managers, teachers, and students. Linked below are the outreach tools you will need to share all things WSI.  Please feel free to customize the letter provided to reach out to your partners and educators and encourage them to register now and receive their toolkit.

3. Host an “Innovation Day,” or simply have your program managers/teachers incorporate WSI into their programs.  This year will feature “Innovation Day” events around the world; events during which teams of students can work with dedicated volunteers on their innovation, from the brainstorming and opportunity recognition phase all the way through the complete submission process in just one day.  A toolkit for planning your own Innovation Day is also available on request.

4. Keep your audience informed about WSI on your social media platforms. Provided in your outreach tools are Facebook and Twitter posts targeted for immediate use, post-launch, and voting, so we hope you will promote WSI every step of the way!

NFTE is happy to answer any inquiries which can be submitted by emailing

Cultivating Creative Leadership in Challenging Times

On June 23, 2013, the Development for People and Nature Association (DPNA) and Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) hosted a workshop of the Entrance to Enterprise (E2E) Alumni Network in Saida, Lebanon. Ms. Mona Hassouna of DPNA facilitated the gathering of 22 young participants from the local community.

The topic of the workshop was “Creative Leadership” and explored the concept of appreciative inquiry and the leadership skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur. I had the great honor of representing CIPE at this event, and was inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of these young leaders to build a better community through entrepreneurship. The sense of camaraderie was palpable. These young people could have spent this sunny Sunday afternoon at the beach, but they chose to come together in pursuit of knowledge to advance themselves and their society. Continue reading ‘Cultivating Creative Leadership in Challenging Times’ »

Help Empower Nepal’s Entrepreneurs!

CIPE’s long time partner Samriddhi, the Prosperity Foundation in Nepal is seeking to better understand why so many of their independent and small businesses never grow. What is preventing these mom-and-pop shops in Nepal from engaging in the formal economy, accessing credit, and growing their operations? What barriers do these entrepreneurs face?

Samriddhi wants to document and help tell the stories about what challenges these entrepreneurs face every day. But Samriddhi needs your help first. Using crowd funding, Samriddhi partnered with the Atlas Network: for up to $7,500 that Samriddhi raises through its crowd funding campaign, the Atlas Network will match dollar-to-dollar.

There’s only 11 days left to help them out! So read about Samriddhi’s crowd funding campaign and watch their video to help understand how you can help empower Nepali entrepreneurs.

ICCI places among finalists of World Chambers Competition

Last week in Doha, Qatar the World Chambers Congress (WCC) hosted a competition that showcased new and innovative projects from chambers of commerce around the world.  Among the 25 finalists in the World Chambers Competition 2013 was the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which put forth its Youth Entrepreneurship Program for consideration.

As the first chamber of commerce in Pakistan to support an initiative focused on youth development and entrepreneurship, ICCI has established an Entrepreneurship Development Center  as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Forum.  In addition, ICCI is in the process of establishing a business incubation center and has encouraged youth to be an active part of the chamber’s leadership committees.  These initiatives are exactly the type of innovative programs that WCC aims to highlight in order to satisfy the new need of business communities around the world.

Read more about ICCI’s time in Doha here.

The Emergence of Ecosystems

Where do entrepreneurship ecosystems come from? Are they historical accidents or does someone create them? During Democracy That Delivers for Entrepreneurs in Chicago, April 9-10, expert panelists shared their insights into the rise of ecosystems…

Entrepreneurship springs from the grass roots. That’s the beauty of the phenomenon. Entrepreneurs dream up solutions that no one else does and then take initiative to give them life. As SRAM founder F.K. Day remarked, entrepreneurs need an enabling infrastructure but also should be allowed to thrive. Give them some air. Build solutions from the ground up.

A market economy functions on the basis of clear rules. Aurelio Concheso explained how reasonable, predictable rules allow entrepreneurs to go about their business. We must watch that rules are not slanted toward those who are already in the system, or else small entrepreneurs will drift into informality. The fascinating thing is that today’s informal economies evolve into tomorrow’s formal systems, so it is necessary to find mechanisms that provide access to modern markets.

An ecosystem feeds on knowledge. Entrepreneurship isn’t really about business startups or new technologies. It’s about making the connections across disciplines. Economists point to the knowledge spillover effects of entrepreneurship (Zoltán Ács et al.). These spillovers and connections may flourish in a democracy, where, as Linda Darragh noted, people can interact and learn from others who are different from them. Entrepreneurs benefit from the wisdom of others who have gone before and can avoid repeating the same mistakes (Day).

Communities support entrepreneurship. Brad Feld has written about this in Startup Communities. We can look beyond entrepreneurs’ networks, though, to the cultivation of active citizenship. Dr. Jesus Estanislao, recipient of the Hernando de Soto Award, stressed the importance of tapping community spirit and aligning citizen initiatives to build entrepreneurial cities. As a start, Darragh recommended building communities one issue at a time, bringing like-minded people together.

Kim Bettcher

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CIPE Entrepreneurship Update

Washington, DC – CIPE released a new guidebook on youth entrepreneurship programs for chambers of commerce and business associations. Chambers of commerce and business associations play a pivotal role in supporting entrepreneurship; they are uniquely positioned between governments looking to create economic growth and the private sector desire to develop a new generation of employees. This new guidebook is a resource for chambers of commerce, associations, and other business-oriented groups seeking to address some of the obstacles that young people face as they attempt to enter the economy in their communities. By sharing practical lessons from around the world, it serves as a guide to develop or expand successful youth entrepreneurship and employment programs. Download a copy of the newly released Guide to Youth Entrepreneurship Programs for Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations or read more about it on the CIPE Development Blog.

Ecuador – Approximately 50 university students from throughout Ecuador gathered in Guayaquil for the second session of the CIPE-supported Emprendedores Ecuatorianos youth leadership and entrepreneurship program organized by Instituto Ecuatoriano de Economia Politica (IEEP). Business consultant Oswaldo Toscano presented on marketing tools for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and was followed by SME consultant Felipe Rendón. In one activity, students were divided into groups for a mock business plan competition where they worked through each aspect of business plan development. Students also had the opportunity to work one on one with Toscano and Rendón to hone their individual business ideas.

Continue reading ‘CIPE Entrepreneurship Update’ »

Democracy and Entrepreneurship in India

Does entrepreneurship and democracy go hand and hand in India? While India is touted as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies with “billions of entrepreneurs,” according to one author the ideals of entrepreneurship itself goes against the wheels of the country’s subjective democracy “where the caste system still rules the roost” of society.

In this week’s Economic Reform Feature Service Article from CIPE, Chandrima Padmanabhan, the grand prize winner of CIPE’s 2012 International Youth Essay Competition, talks about the relationship between democracy and entrepreneurship  in India in her provocatively titled essay “Entrepreneurship in India: The Evolution of the Pedestrian Pariah.”

Chandrima explains that the title of the essay is meant to reflect democratic and economic struggles that ordinary citizens, including aspiring entrepreneurs, face:

By pedestrian, I’m referring to every ‘undistinguished, ordinary’ person who walks our streets. And by pariah I meant ‘outcast’. About 60 per cent of India’s population is not so well to do. They walk the streets when they can, instead of using automobiles and they live in small houses, not high-rise apartments. But the India of today doesn’t cater to the masses. It caters to the rich and affluent.

By pedestrian pariah I highlight the common people of India who make the majority of the population but are still outcasts in every decision making/policy influencing scheme.

Read the entire article here.

As a grand prize winner, Chandrima Padmanabhan will be attending CIPE’s upcoming Democracy that Delivers for Entrepreneurs conference April 9-10 in Chicago.

Brad Feld on Entrepreneurial Leadership

I really enjoyed reading Feld’s Startup Communities, all about the Boulder, Colorado, startup ecosystem. Boulder is a fun, quirky town at the foot of the mountains, which has tremendous startup activity in technology, biotechnology, and natural foods (tea, for instance). Feld tells how entrepreneurs make their own communities through volunteer leadership, taking a bottom-up approach. Neither venture capitalists, governments, nor universities call the shots in the making of a vibrant community.

Startup Communities is partly a study in good networking, packed with examples of interesting activities like meetups, coffee clubs, and Startup Weekend. The book, however, carries broader messages about leadership, including the need for inclusiveness, community engagement, experimentation, outreach to other communities, and cultivation of new leaders. Feld has discovered how much entrepreneurs can get done without relying on government initiatives.

Still, Feld despairs of policy leadership since officials have different agendas and time frames than entrepreneurs do: “Government is going to do whatever it is going to do…” While he’s right on the mark about the importance of bottom-up leadership, he could be underestimating the capacity of entrepreneurs to become policy entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs by nature are in a hurry, yet some do engage in policy affairs when they perceive a serious effect on their business. For example, a small group led by Sherwood Neiss, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, et al made recommendations on crowdfunding for the JOBS Act. No way can entrepreneurs alone remake government, but if they are selective they can have a valuable voice. As Feld himself notes, leaders should have a vision and a 20-year commitment, so perhaps there is time for policy change too.

Kim Bettcher

Register now! Democracy That Delivers for Entrepreneurs in Chicago, April 9-10.

CIPE Entrepreneurship Update

  • Pakistan – With support from CIPE, the economic policy think tank PRIME has partnered with the Youth Economic Forum of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry to launch a survey called “Youth Voices on Political Economy.” This survey of 1,200 young people, including entrepreneurs, seeks to evaluate their understanding of the economic and political issues facing Pakistan.
  • Afghanistan – The Federation of Afghanistan Craftsmen and Traders (FACT) held a conference on access to credit for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Among the nearly 100 participants were representatives of the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Finance, commercial banks, and leading figures in the business community. FACT outlined a set of policy recommendations to encourage the growth of business, including lowering interest rates on loans and easing collateral conditions. The Ministry of Economy plans to host a follow-up meeting to discuss how to move forward on these recommendations, and the bank officials have pledged to raise these issues at board-level discussions.
  • Peru – Approximately 120 university students from throughout Peru gathered at the University of Lima for the third session of the CIPE-supported EmprendeAhora youth leadership and entrepreneurship program organized by Instituto Invertir. The top 10 business plan groups presented their plans to a jury at the beginning of the educational session. The jury, composed of Invertir staff, University of Lima professors, entrepreneurs, and sponsors, chose the three best business plans. These three groups will receive awards and additional training from Invertir after the program in an effort to help them grow their businesses and enrich their entrepreneurial knowledge.
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