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While the startup genome in Silicon Valley is always mutating, some formulas are becoming basic tenets in the science of startups. A critical mass of email about my use of the word “iterative” in my blogs prompts me to revisit one such startup fundamental—the so called “Lean Startup” formula.
From an outsider perspective, Belgium has a very diverse economy with dozens of influences coming together at its prime location in the heart of the EU. Being the home to several major European universities, and a mix of service-based economy in the north and industrial-based in the south, Belgium has a diverse market structure that keeps it competitive and one of the highest income per capita economies in the world. However, when it comes to entrepreneurship, Belgium is not thriving.
With stadiums rising across the country for the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics, it is clear Brazil itself is rising on the world stage. The country’s economic growth has led it to overtake the UK as the world's sixth-largest economy while the announcement last week that it won the bid to host the next Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) will spotlight the role that entrepreneurs have played in the country’s newfound economic prowess and international standing.
I have just returned today from the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Liverpool where a weeklong festival of entrepreneurship floated powerful ideas about everything from seeding startup communities to smarter national top-down policies. This week I take a quick look at last week’s GEC and why it matters as a symbol of the democratization of entrepreneurship.
When the Global Entrepreneurship Congress convenes in Liverpool next week, one of the largest delegations will come from Canada. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to tour one of Canada’s best startup cities—Waterloo—which offered some useful insights for the global entrepreneurship community.
The following is an excerpt from the latest Impact Report for Global Entrepreneurship Week that outlines the evolution of the annual gathering of startup champions and entrepreneurs from around the world. You can download a copy of the Impact Report from the homepage of the Global Entrepreneurship Week website.
At the Global Entrepreneurial Summit (GES) in Dubai last week, it was clear to me that there is a new level of engagement in developing more entrepreneurial economies at the highest levels of government in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The summit, a collaboration between the U.A.E. Prime Minister’s office and the Obama Administration, was an effort to leverage U.S. strengths in high growth entrepreneurship. Now that the summit is over, we take a look at the challenges before policymakers in the region in making the path easier for even more nascent entrepreneurs to succeed in the future.
A recent blog by Dan Isenberg from Babson College argues that there has been too much focus on startups around the world and that “infinitely more important is to embed scale-up.” Of course, Dan has a point in that I frequently hear leaders outside the United States lament their lack of billion dollars firms, but I think we are far from the point when we can stop advocating for better support for new starts. Not only is most of the world still focused on size not age of firms—talking “SMEs”—but we still do not know enough about the science of startups and how to best support those that want to scale. As with kids—to play along with Isenberg’s analogy—we have to help firms start better if they are to scale later in life and now is not the time to pull back the throttle on legitimizing founders and startups as a centrepiece of that economy policy.
This year has afforded me the opportunity to visit dozens of nations and talk with their entrepreneurs. One nation remained elusive to me. In 2011, Thailand participated for the first time in Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) and I was keen to visit in either 2011 or 2012, but despite good faith efforts, I have been unable to make it there, mostly due to the likes of tragic flooding, the worst in 50 years last year for the country. So I turn today to virtual research.
Tomorrow, roughly 100 million Americans will cast their vote for one of two men who have stressed the importance of entrepreneurs and of course, small business to the country—and claimed to be the best candidate to empower them. Meanwhile, one week from today, policymakers, researchers and millions of nascent entrepreneurs in 130 countries will be taking matters into their own hands through a collection of 40,000 events, activities and competitions during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
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