Posts tagged ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem’

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.

An Entrepreneur Spring or Winter for the Arab World?

Originally posted by Brandon Nickerson on the CIPE Development Blog

This fall, I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Egypt Business Council Luncheon honoring Entrepreneurship Scholars from the MENA Region at the US Chamber of Commerce. It was incredible to witness the level of optimism shared by these young entrepreneurs, and to hear firsthand from them on their ideas to promote job growth and encourage entrepreneurialism in their respective countries.

As I and several of my colleagues interviewed these young entrepreneurs about their thoughts on entrepreneurship and the barriers faced by young entrepreneurs in their countries, it was evident that many of them will go on to do great things.

Whether you describe it as the “enabling environment for entrepreneurship” or the “entrepreneurship ecosystem,” job growth across the region will remain sluggish unless reforms are made to the barriers and challenges facing young entrepreneurs. Whether your business idea is contingent upon outside financing or an entrepreneurship support program, without significant reforms made to the areas that affect starting a business — property rights, access to finance, bankruptcy laws, market exit, corruption — no amount of optimism will deliver on the promise of opportunity and dignity for the average citizen. Continue reading ‘An Entrepreneur Spring or Winter for the Arab World?’ »

Principles to Jump Start an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

“Ecosystem” has become the accepted term for describing the full range of conditions needed to support and encourage entrepreneurship. Most people now realize that neither education, financing, nor any other single factor can promote entrepreneurship without consideration for the system in which entrepreneurs function. But now that everyone is using the term “ecosystem,” what exactly does it mean?

Professor Daniel J. Isenberg at Babson College has nicely summarized the elements of an entrepreneurship ecosystem and the ways they play into a strategy to promote entrepreneurship. See his article “The Big Idea: How to Start an Entrepreneurial Revolution” in the Harvard Business Review (June 2010).

Because an ecosystem has many interrelated elements, Isenberg recommends an integrated approach to nurturing entrepreneurship instead of a one-dimensional solution. He tells policymakers to stop focusing on the Silicon Valley model—a product of special circumstances—and to look farther afield at countries such as Chile, Israel, and Rwanda. The countries that have successfully made the leap to entrepreneurial economies have taken advantage of their own local features. Isenberg wisely cautions against artificial attempts to design entrepreneurial clusters.

Continue reading ‘Principles to Jump Start an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’ »