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Entrepreneurs start and grow companies despite of government. But Chris Schroeder’s new book Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East reveals a quiet, unnoticed revolution in the midst of front page uncertainty surrounding the region after the Arab Spring. The entrepreneurs leading the revolution illustrated in his book have not been waiting for government direction and resources. To the contrary, they have become the leaders.
Global interest in the emerging entrepreneurial economies of Latin America has been on the rise. It is where Endeavor began—launching in Chile and Argentina in 1997—and more recently, the region’s vibrant cultures have led the likes of Geeks on a Plane and the Global Entrepreneurship Congress to take a closer look. This spring we report back from a few economies in the region.
In this era of sophisticated public policy around enabling high-growth entrepreneurship, governments should be mindful to not forget the basics. A survey conducted last November in Honduras found that gang violence was forcing the closure of 1600 companies across the country. This is a good reminder that supporting startups to scale up in this part of the world must include deep institutional reforms to strengthen the rule of law and the judicial system.
I first visited the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology in Ghana when it first opened in 2008. It was impressive then and it has continued to impress since—helping incubate promising tech startups throughout the country. Five years later, it is part of a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Accra that is laying the foundation for future growth. In our final commentary on Africa, we hear from Alicia Robb, senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation, who has just returned from Ghana about her thoughts on the progress being made.
Being born in Britain might explain my bias, but I find myself asking again whether we have overlooked the important leadership role of royalty in providing help from the top for bottom-up startup communities. I recently spoke with the Prince of Wales at St. James Palace in London and while he is from a different generation, I heard a man with his heart and mind fully in step with today’s unemployed youth and the path they must beat to create their own future as entrepreneurs.
Despite the profound impact of the banking sector collapse in 2008 on Iceland’s economy, the island nation ranks 13th in this year’s Global Innovation Index, 14th in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, and 23rd in the Index of Economic Freedom. There has been much debate and disagreement regarding the key steps that put this social-market economy on a path to successful recovery but no one denies the contribution of the more silent actors transforming the economy for the better—its entrepreneurs. I recently sat down in Reykjavik with President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson to learn about the entrepreneurs who are building what they call an “anti-fragile” entrepreneurship ecosystem.
With all the chatter around the Middle East, we welcome a guest post from Mike Ducker. Over the last two years, he has been the Entrepreneur-In-Residence for the U.S. State Department's Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) in Egypt, a project funded by USAID and centered on starting, growing and facilitating financing for Egyptian entrepreneurs. His observations show once more the remarkable similarities around the world in terms of how to support startups.
Today marks a new era in entrepreneurial finance as the measure in the 2012 JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups Act) allowing “emerging growth” companies to ask accredited investors for equity investments publicly (e.g., through social media) without having to register the shares for public trading goes into effect.
Proud to have beaten the odds arising from a transition to independence since 1991 and the legacy of a war that only ended in 1995, Croatia officially joined the European Union on July 1, 2013. Last month, I accepted an invitation to visit with the nation’s president, Ivo Josipović, at his retreat on the Brijuni Islands and found a nation already embarking on its next mission.
Holding an American and British passport, I enjoy the freedom to move easily among economies which is important given that I am now involved in advancing entrepreneurship in 140 countries. As APEC gets ready to complete the rollout of its APEC travel card and other regions outside the European Community develop single visa plans, I wonder how easy it is for current and aspiring entrepreneurs and investors to get around. Is it indeed getting better?
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