The mission of the Global Entrepreneurship Network is to help build one entrepreneurial ecosystem. People are mobile, ideas fly around the world, and capital moves rapidly across borders. Entrepreneurs no longer need to be constrained by geographic boundaries: startups in Africa working on global problems will seek connections with startups in Europe and the United States. Venture capitalists have followed this pattern, expanding their global investment portfolio over the past two decades.
Yet we have lacked ways to fully capture the globalization of startups and the progress of the global entrepreneurial ecosystem. And, while we have evidence-based insights about the DNA of specific innovation hubs such as London, New York, and Silicon Valley, we have not understood what works in helping smaller ecosystems accelerate their growth and increase their performance.
The Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER), produced by Startup Genome in collaboration with GEN, is a leap forward in our understanding of startup ecosystems and the global network of capital and connections that drive them. It also provides advanced analysis of the specific drivers of startup ecosystems, based on survey responses from thousands of technology startups from around the world.
Much work remains to be done, of course, and the Global Entrepreneurship Network will continue to work with Startup Genome and others to develop further insight. But, with the 2017 GSER, we know much more today than we did yesterday. Here, I will highlight four key findings that particularly resonate with our work at GEN and our partners around the world.
First, original ideas emerge from unexpected places in unanticipated ways. What became Silicon Valley did not come into being spontaneously, but was built over decades of strategic investment in a vision for an innovation-driven economy. Today, while there is no recipe for replicating Silicon Valley, this report offers plenty of ideas as to the ingredients to use, how much preparation is required and when to apply and mix each.
Second, there is a lifecycle to the development of startup ecosystems. It may be true that people and ideas and capital are fleet-footed, but competition for those resources is fierce. Doing the right thing at the right time in the lifecycle promises higher payoffs. For example, before cities rush to foster corporate involvement in a startup ecosystem, the following pages will reveal a strategic approach to maximize that outreach by executing the effort at the right stage.
Third, we should all share a sense of urgency about developing vibrant startup ecosystems. City and regional leaders no longer need to be convinced of the value of new and young businesses to the growth of their economies. However, leaders of smaller economies need to invest aggressively in building and strengthening their entrepreneurship ecosystems. Amidst that sense of urgency, this cross-border research offers key knowledge on how today’s leaders can build innovation ecosystems in an informed and strategic way.
Finally, entrepreneurial ecosystems are multi-dimensional. In the 2017 GSER, Startup Genome uses extensive data to analyze ten factors: Funding; Talent; Market Reach; Startup Experience; Global Connectedness; Resource Attraction; Corporate Involvement; Founder Ambition & Strategy; and Resource Attraction. At GEN, we continue to work with a variety of research partners, through the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network (GERN), to extend the reach of such analyses. Innovative data collection and research will enhance our ability to help startups.
Such research increases the global exposure of smaller ecosystems and the innovative new recipes that can now be invented anywhere. In doing so, it puts third-party objective analysis and credible input into hands of many more entrepreneurship champions in a mission to capture their cities’ fair share and standing in this new economy.
The Rise of Emerging Entrepreneurial Cities was originally published in the 2017 Global Startup Ecosystem Report.