Credit Suisse has a long history of entrepreneurship going back to its founding. Swisscontact has decades of experience fostering, supporting, and accelerating entrepreneurs all over the world and research clearly recognizes the important role of entrepreneurs for economic growth and job creation in emerging markets.
Yet entrepreneurs do not exist in a vacuum. Just as it takes 'a whole village to raise a child', it takes a whole ecosystem to nurture, guide and raise successful entrepreneurs. It is widely acknowledged that a well-functioning ecosystem is therefore key to fostering systemic entrepreneurial success and for Swisscontact - with ‘Inclusive System Development’ as part of our DNA - it is only logical to take a systemic perspective on entrepreneurship.
Now, the challenge we observed was that while the concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems and ecosystem building had gained attention, it was not obvious how to transfer and operationalize these insights to the programs on the ground. Little was being said about key characteristics of successful ecosystems and even less about how to influence and measure them. The aim of this initiative was therefore to help identify and share best practice around the key characteristics of successful ecosystems.
The project was structured along the topics of ‘Testing’, ‘Harvesting’ and ‘Promotion’ with activities on a global level, but with focus on Guatemala, Cambodia, Rwanda and Uganda.
Led by local entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders we tested a range of approaches and tools in different contexts, we harvested existing best practices and worked on promoting them on different levels – working directly with entrepreneurs, with ecosystem building support organisations as well as exchanging and collaborating with funding institutions.
Important Activities and Achievements of the initiative include:
For the most important take away and recommendations after 4,5 years of the CSSC initiative please have a look at our “Key Learnings” here.
This project is financed by Credit Suisse. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA.