“The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Stanford University, Ernst & Young and Endeavor, surveyed over 1,000 entrepreneurs from around the globe with the goal of better understanding how successful entrepreneurial companies speed access to new markets and become scalable, high-growth businesses. Executive case studies for 43 early-stage companies from 23 different countries were developed to enrich the feedback from the survey.
Summary of Key Findings
- For entrepreneurs, major differences in entrepreneurial ecosystems exist from one region to the next. When entrepreneurs consider expansion opportunities beyond their country or region, there is a potential alignment issue with governments that often adopt a strong “within country/region” focus in their entrepreneurial ecosystem policies.
- According to entrepreneurs, three areas of an entrepreneurial ecosystem are of pivotal importance – accessible markets, human capital/workforce and funding & finance. This report is the first large-scale study that systematically examines which pillars of an ecosystem matter most to entrepreneurs when it comes to the growth of their companies. A potential alignment issue can arise between the time horizon of an entrepreneur and that of a policy-maker or politician, with the time horizon of the latter two typically following the electoral cycle.
- In most regions, only a small number of breakout companies are the main contributors to a healthy, growing early-stage company sector. There are also substantially more similarities than differences in the issues facing entrepreneurs around the globe. These similarities appear in all regions and have an impact on the major growth accelerators and growth challenges for early-stage companies.
- Large companies in the overall business ecosystem have the potential to provide important leverage for early-stage companies in their growth and development. However, there are potential pitfalls to navigate through in the relationship. The report highlights areas for productive relationships as well as areas where relationships can inhibit growth or be the source of revenue and job destruction in an early-stage company.
- Entrepreneurs themselves can play multiple important roles in the build-out of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Using case studies from Endeavor, five important roles are illustrated – mentorship, inspiration, investment, new founders and new employees.
- Government and regulatory policies are viewed by entrepreneurs as both potential growth accelerators and growth inhibitors. The report highlights examples of case studies from different geographical regions that reflect the positive and negative impact economic policies can have on entrepreneurs. In some cases, entrepreneurs believe that government/regulatory policies aimed at supporting economic growth can actually be counterproductive to the growth of their early-stage company.”