Entrepreneurship Ecosystems – The Future Ahead
The George Washington University – School of Business
10th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Policy & Research Conference
October 3-4, 2019
Entrepreneurship Ecosystems have emerged as the most used word in the last 18 months across academia, policy, and research circles. It is a new perspective used to discuss how to facilitate entrepreneurship and SMEs in the face of competitive and dynamic environments and societal challenges. The term refers, analogous to biology, to interacting organizations or ‘factors’ that rely on each other’s activities. From an engineering perspective, a system-of-systems (SoS) analogy can also be proposed in which a set of systems or system elements that interact to provide a unique capability that none of the constituent systems can accomplish on its own. A system-of-systems approach now is a more systemic perspective that acknowledges the interplay of various actors and factors appears to resonate among both academics and policy makers.
Witnessing the increasing attention to local entrepreneurial ecosystems in policy, academia and among other stakeholders it becomes apparent that the lack of an existing harmonized research and policy to its further development. Moreover, the challenge for entrepreneurs, policymakers, researchers, and employees, is to consider the ecosystem from various perspectives. ICSB proposed the Humane Entrepreneurship model ensuring entrepreneurship is coupled with the foundation on empathy. It is imperative that whatever direction the 4th Industrial Revolution goes, empathy must remain at the core of any new economic paradigm that emerges.
In the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development the role of entrepreneurship in improving the quality of life for ordinary people, including disadvantaged groups is recognized, as it contributes to building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation. In regard to the SDGs under review in 2019, entrepreneurship is linked to SDGs 4 and 8. SDG target 4.4 aims to substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment and decent jobs and entrepreneurship. Concurrently, SDG target 8.3 sets out to promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including through access to financial services.
MSMEs are a key part of the equation as agents for and beneficiaries of inclusive development. In most countries, MSMEs are the main drivers of employment and important facilitators of income generation, poverty eradication and inequality reduction for the majority of the population, including disadvantaged groups. MSMEs are one of the best tools to address the challenge of creating 600 million new jobs by 2030, particularly for the youth as they provide sixty to seventy percent of formal employment in developing countries and eighty percent in subSaharan Africa. Moreover, transformational entrepreneurs create new products and business models and offer dignified employment, and their success leads to broader improvements in the quality of life and even bolsters fiscal sustainability.
GW October convened on the campus of The George Washington University with prominent academics, government leaders, and influential members of the business community to discuss how small businesses should be supported. Along the way, international institutional partners like the World Bank, The International Monetary Fund (IMF), The International Finance Corporation (IFC), Korean Management Institute (KMI), and the US Small Business Administration (SBA), and governments around the world have provided speakers and resources to make this conference a must-attend if you are in Washington, DC in October.
In 2019, the 10th Annual GW October Conference titled, “Entrepreneurship Ecosystems – The Future Ahead”, hosted in collaboration with ICSB and with SBA will provide entrepreneurs, small business, and advocates tutorials on how to put together an “SME Ecosystem”. The normally two-day program has been expanded with a pre-conference workshop. For the second time at GWOctober, The US Small Business Administration will provide an all-day session on the five pillars that are necessary to support SMEs. These pillars include, tutorials on capital access programs, building a network of technical counselors and trainers, public funding for small business development through procurement, contingency planning, and how to create the right the regulatory environment to promote SMEs support. Other topics on entrepreneurship policy and the role of the state will address the role that government policy play in shaping the climate for small business starts and growth. Access to capital financing is a cornerstone of every small business and leading financiers and financial institutions will share their views and process that should be consider when seeking access to capital. This is a good time to be in the company of SMEs.