In recent years, support for entrepreneurship and development of entrepreneurial ecosystems have moved to the top of the international agenda for job creation, income generation, economic growth, and contribution to the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Although no SDG explicitly recognises entrepreneurship or entrepreneurial ecosystems as its objective, both are considered key contributors to many of the SDGs. Entrepreneurial activities can be found throughout the whole economic value chain, including subsistence entrepreneurs, livelihood sustaining entrepreneurs, traditional enterprises, social entrepreneurs, and growth-oriented entrepreneurs. Swisscontact’ s targets in many of its projects are growth entrepreneurs as well as social and environment focused entrepreneurs with an ambition to scale and build repeatable business models.
Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and the Entrepreneurial Support Organisations (ESOs) play a critical role in entrepreneurial success across the value chain as they provide the necessary infrastructure, access to knowledge, and network for entrepreneurial success. These organisations are designed exclusively to stimulate and actively support entrepreneurial activity and include organisations such as accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces, and other programs to support entrepreneurs.
Swisscontact supports Ecosystems and its actors in their development to sustainable growth. Swisscontact implements a wide range of projects working directly with different stakeholders and implementing a vast variety of projects focussing on evaluation of ecosystems, support for ESOs, Ecosystem and Community Building, Business Development for ESOs and startups, and developing investment ecosystems. To reach these target groups, Swisscontact will often seek partnerships with ESOs and investors, including academic institutions, incubators, accelerators, business associations, mentors and coaches, training providers, policy makers, and investors (angel, impact, and venture capital, among others).
The approach is demand-oriented and focused on the development of sustainable and economically viable organisations and communities that provide high quality services to founders and entrepreneurs. All projects implemented by Swisscontact focus on Evidence-Based Adaptive Management, Inclusive Systems Development, Learning Culture and Private Sector Cooperation while respecting Sustainability Criteria like Environmental Responsibility, Equality and Social Inclusion, Financial Inclusion, and Good Governance.