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The new global start-up village

The new global start-up village

In his remarks, US President Barack Obama reminds us of the most important ingredient in the recent global start-up renaissance – people, writes Jonathan Ortmans, President, Global Entrepreneurship Network, Chair, Spark Global Entrepreneurship and Senior Fellow, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Today’s doers and makers of things do not apologise for leveraging free markets yet are socially motivated, and as committed to positive values as they are to a positive balance sheet.  They bring a renewed human spirit around creating value for society and a ‘glass half full’ attitude to solving problems.

As the story unfolds, we see entrepreneurs leading an ever-growing community of others keen to support their endeavors.  As co-chair of President Obama’s Spark Global Entrepreneurship coalition initiated by the White House where we have secured US$1bn in new commitments from banks, foundations, philanthropies and the US Government — US$100m of which represents the collective investment of the GEN community, I have met with other heads of state recently with open eyes to the potential of their own citizens to power economies and expand human welfare through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Entrepreneurship ecosystems active in Europe

European nations are hard at work. For example, in Ireland, multinationals, universities, institutes of technology and research centers are all working step in step to empower new and young firms to scale and springboard to global success.

Germany has put a spotlight on the need to define and understand the eleven basic building blocks that show the logic of how an ecosystem works to better exploit existing chances and at the same time identify missing links. Meanwhile, Denmark has invested heavily in entrepreneurship education with four federal ministries creating a national knowledge centre and focal point for the development of entrepreneurship teaching at all educational levels.

Globally, academic communities have started aligning research agendas and promoting shared methodologies across different economies to encourage rigorous, relevant research aimed at improving outcomes from entrepreneurship policy and programmes.

Start-up savvy policy advisors are at work on the needs of their start-up ecosystems, exploring regulatory changes and other policy ideas in an on-going quest to smooth the path for these new firms to start and scale. With so many similarities across types of economies and cultures in the dynamics of entrepreneurial value creation, national policymakers have gone global, optimistic that such cross-border collaboration will produce results bigger than the sum of the parts.

But while the trend is promising, it is only a start. The Global Entrepreneurship Index that measures the health of entrepreneurial ecosystems in 130 countries sits at 52pc – meaning that the world is roughly at half of its entrepreneurial capacity.

Nations have come a long way when it comes to supporting new businesses, and the world has never been more open to new innovative solutions. I welcome Ireland to GEN where we remain anchored in a mission of enabling one global entrepreneurial ecosystem where more individuals and organisations seize this moment and take the democratisation of entrepreneurship to the next level—nurturing high-impact start-ups that change the world and open new paths for prosperity for us all.