Entrepreneurship ecosystem

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The entrepreneurship ecosystem refers to the elements – individuals, organizations or institutions – outside the individual entrepreneur that are conducive to, or inhibitive of, the choice of a person to become an entrepreneur, or the probabilities of his or her success following launch. Organizations and individuals representing these elements are referred to as entrepreneurship stakeholders. Stakeholders are any entity that has an interest, actually or potentially, in there being more entrepreneurship in the region. Entrepreneurship stakeholders may include government, schools, universities, private sector, family businesses, investors, banks, entrepreneurs, social leaders, research centers, military, labor representatives, students, lawyers, cooperatives, communes, multinationals, private foundations, and international aid agencies.

In order to explain or create sustainable entrepreneurship, one isolated element in the ecosystem is rarely sufficient. In regions which have extensive amounts of entrepreneurship (e.g., Silicon Valley, Boston, New York City, and Israel), many of the ecosystem elements are strong and typically have evolved in tandem. Similarly, the formation of these ecosystems suggests that governments or societal leaders who want to foster more entrepreneurship as part of economic policy must strengthen several such elements simultaneously. However, recent research shows that government policy is often limited in what it can do to develop entrepreneurial ecosystems (Mason and Brown, 2014).

In July 2010, the Harvard Business Review published an article by Babson Global Professor Daniel Isenberg entitled, “How to Start an Entrepreneurial Revolution.”[1] In this article, Isenberg describes the environment in which entrepreneurship tends to thrive. Drawing from examples from around the world, the article proposes that entrepreneurs are most successful when they have access to the human, financial and professional resources they need, and operate in an environment in which government policies encourage and safeguard entrepreneurs. This network is described as the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

There are several key conditions that typically define a healthy ecosystem. The ecosystem:

  • is tailored around its own unique environment – it does not seek to be something it isn’t, like the “next Silicon Valley”
  • operates in an environment with reduced bureaucratic obstacles in which government policies support the unique needs of entrepreneurs and tolerate failed ventures
  • actively encourages and invites financiers to participate in new ventures - although access to money isn’t without barriers for those planning new business ventures
  • is reinforced, not created from scratch, by government, academic or commercial organizations
  • is relatively free from, or is able to change, cultural biases against failure or operating a business
  • promotes successes, which in turn attract new ventures
  • is supported by dialogue among various of the entrepreneurship stakeholders

To help global leaders understand and apply the benefits of entrepreneurship ecosystems, Babson College, ranked #1 for the best entrepreneurship program[2] founded the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project (BEEP) in 2009,[3] through its subsidiary Babson Global.

Related Content[edit]

University-based Entrepreneurship Ecosystem – In academic settings, entrepreneurship ecosystems commonly refer to programs within a university that focus on the development of entrepreneurs and/or the commercialization of technology or intellectual property developed at the university level.[4][5]

Business cluster – A business cluster is a geographic concentration of interconnected businesses, suppliers, and associated institutions in a particular field. Governments often look to clusters to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in their region. When clusters are applied to entrepreneurship, experts agree governments should not seek to create new clusters, but rather reinforce existing ones.[6]

References[edit]

1. Mason, C. and Brown, R. 2014. Entrepreneurship Ecosystems and Growth-Oriented Entrepreneurship, Report for the OECD LEED Programme, Paris. http://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/Entrepreneurial-ecosystems.pdf

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