Gustavo Alvarez: How to Build thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems

By Ellen Peacock

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GEC Session: How to build thriving entrepreneurial systems from Gustavo Alvarez, VP of Regions, Techstars

Gustavo Alvarez from Techstars addressed how to build thriving entrepreneurial systems, and identified a series of pillars that facilitate entrepreneurship. These pillars are consistent across countries, and include talent, density, culture, capital and regulation. From Mexico City to Medellin to Tel Aviv and the US, these pillars encompass the key conditions required for a successful entrepreneurial economy.

Alvarez also argued that within these pillars, success and failure are not separate entities. Successful entrepreneurs have to go through failure to achieve success, and that failure is part of the process of successful entrepreneurship. This interrelation of success and failure is true across regions and cultures.

However, whilst this may be true for some cultures, it could also be argued that some countries tend to stress more emphasis on failure than others. For example, in Japan and Italy the culture means that failure is not part of the process in many circumstances, but is the worst case scenario. Therefore, I would argue that it is problematic to use this generalising statement. The environment of some countries may mean that failure is the end of the line, whereas in other countries it is merely part of the entrepreneurial process.

Therefore, whilst it is important to theorise the key to successful entrepreneurial economies in order to promote this across the world, the global culture of failure and success is not homogenous. This is something that should be taken into account when understanding the pillars of success.

Even so, Alvarez makes a good point. This configuration of pillars is useful for providing a benchmark for entrepreneurial systems in a global context.

About Ellen:

Ellen is a third year politics and International Relations student studying at the University of Sheffield. She is Deputy Head of News at Forge radio and has a strong interest in current affairs. She is also interested in policy analysis and research, particularly in the area of social entrepreneurship.

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