A Note on Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Developing Economies

By Stephen Ciesinski, Howie Rosen, Andrew Leon Hanna, Erin Cooney, Abeer Nijmeh, Mitchel Scott, Blake Kavanaugh, Jeffrey Conn, Deborah Whitman, Ryan Kissick
2019 | Case No. E687 | Length 31 pgs.

Entrepreneurs looking to launch start-ups in developing economies must confront numerous challenges that their peers in more developed countries may be less likely to encounter. Depending on the country in which they are operating, entrepreneurs in developing economies oftentimes lack access to human capital and professional services, sufficient sources of funding, large markets for their products, adequate infrastructure, and predictable legal and regulatory processes, among myriad other challenges. This note aims to explore these challenges in more depth—while simultaneously examining some representative countries and regions in which entrepreneurship is thriving. The note also serves as a complement (and informal update) to the 2013 World Economic Forum Report: “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems around the Globe and Company Growth Dynamics,” as well as an update to our 2016 Teaching Note to include recent developments in select Asian, African, and Latin American entrepreneurial ecosystems.

This note is intended primarily for current or budding entrepreneurs interested in starting a new venture in a developing economy, as well as investors seeking to fund start-ups in these countries. The note is also relevant for policy makers looking to encourage entrepreneurship in their cities or countries, universities wanting to support entrepreneurship, and corporations seeking a better understanding of their role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of a developing economy.

Learning Objective

The goals of the note are threefold: 1) To provide a framework for evaluating an entrepreneurial ecosystem in any region or country across the globe (applicable to developed or developing countries alike); 2) To assess the current state of entrepreneurship in various developing countries and regions, as well as the prospects for growth in these geographies; 3) To understand through a series of mini case studies how entrepreneurs have overcome the challenges associated with launching a successful start-up in developing economies.
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