Section 1: Focus of the Report and Information Sources Underlying the Analysis
- Question 1 – What do entrepreneurs see as differences among entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world with regard to the ready availability of the pillars making up an ecosystem?
- Question 2 – Which pillars of an entrepreneurial ecosystem do entrepreneurs view as most important to the growth/success of their companies?
By jointly examining these two questions, this report advances the debate on entrepreneurial ecosystems in two important ways.
The first is that systematic polling of entrepreneurs addressed both of the report’s two central questions. In contrast, many existing analyses of ecosystems do not explicitly use entrepreneurs as the core source of evidence. Advancing on public sector investments in ecosystems without systematic input from entrepreneurs runs the risk of misinformed decisions, as well as outcomes that differ greatly from a desired rapid surge in entrepreneurial activity. Politicians often find it convenient to make ecosystem recommendations with an electoral-cycle mentality, an approach that can differ greatly from that of entrepreneurs who aim to scale a new venture in a sustained way.
The second advance to the debate is that the same set of entrepreneurs answered both questions. Much of the evidence to date has been focused on Question 1. However, Question 2 provides pivotal information about what an entrepreneur views as important to growing a company. The more policy-makers understand what entrepreneurs consider as important, the greater the potential for policies to be better aligned with the actions of companies. The report also shows that entrepreneurs around the globe consider three ecosystem pillars as the most important ones for their companies’ growth: accessible markets, human capital/workforce and funding & finance.
Two very different sources of information were analysed for this report:
- A two-phased online survey with responses from over 1,000 entrepreneurs. The Stanford Graduate School of Business’ alumni database was used to seek responses from entrepreneurs with experience in early-stage companies. The response rate was approximately 10% of the alumni polled. Many in the database have not had experience as an early-stage company executive, so the response rate from the target population was sizeably higher than 10%. Several additional databases were used to supplement the survey – e.g. databases from Endeavor, Pakistan and Australia. Exhibit 1-3 (Panel A) gives an overview of the respondents. Part One of the online survey, which focused on entrepreneurial ecosystems, is analysed in Sections 2 and 3 of this report. Part Two of the survey, which focused specifically on the respondents’ early-stage companies, is analysed in Sections 4, 5 and 7.
- Executive case studies. Founders and senior executives from 43 early-stage companies responded to a standardized set of questions about their company’s growth and the role of entrepreneurial ecosystems in that growth. Exhibit 1-3 (Panel B) provides a geographical breakdown of the executive case studies from 23 different countries.