This co-authored blog is part of a series of pre-conference blogs produced prior to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Medellin. In these blogs, the Global leadership Initiative team interrogate ideas and themes which they will explore further whilst at the conference.
By Ziyu Huang and Tim Vorley
We need to remember the entrepreneurs in the entrepreneurial ecosystem
Entrepreneurship is always in the global headlines, increasingly viewed as an important engine for economic growth and societal development around the world. For nations looking to realise the benefits of entrepreneurial activities, the GEC 2016 provides a unique opportunity for governments and other stakeholders to think about improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem. However, entrepreneurship is a broad church and it is important that policy doesn’t lose sight of the entrepreneurs it seeks to support.
Policy makers and stakeholders assume a variety of different roles in terms of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Government policies associated with education and infrastructure among others are often central to enabling and constraining the behavior of entrepreneurs, although policies can have wider implications- one of which, is a key theme at the GEC 2016: entrepreneurship for peace. Other stakeholder organisations, from investors to accelerators/incubators and business support professionals, can also augment the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is essential, however, that entrepreneurs remain at the epicenter. First and foremost the role of policymakers and stakeholders is to enhance the practices of entrepreneurs.
When thinking about enhancing the entrepreneurial ecosystem, there is a need to remember the entrepreneurs that policymakers and stakeholders are trying to support. While there are a number of high profile entrepreneurs participating at the GEC 2016, we need to remember the importance of those less prolific everyday entrepreneurs who are the backbone of the ecosystem. One big question that the GEC seeks to address is how to best foster more entrepreneurial economies and support entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses.
For entrepreneurs, starting and growing a business is about realising their passion and pursuing a vision. As well as improving the mechanics of startups, policy makers and other stakeholders across the entrepreneurial ecosystem have an important function in promoting a culture of entrepreneurship. Those ecosystems which are deemed most entrepreneurial are characterised by few barriers, as well as having a pro-entrepreneurial culture.
It is essentially about nurturing an environment that allows entrepreneurs to do what they do best.
For those attendees at GEC 2016 who are entrepreneurs, they need to remember the communities they represent. Policy makers and stakeholders bear important responsibilities too, and by sharing insights, experiences and lessons between entrepreneurs, policy makers, stakeholders and academia, we can collectively learn and build a more entrepreneurial future.
Ziyu is a Sociology (BA) student and is currently doing her dissertation on entrepreneurial inclinations. She has a keen interest in research and activities related to entrepreneurship and believes in the future of entrepreneurship for a better world.
Tim Vorley is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Sheffield University Management School and is a coordinator of the Global Leadership Initiative (GLI) trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Medellin with Chay Brooks. Tim’s research interests are in the policy and practice of entrepreneurship from an institutional perspective.