Strong ecosystems allow entrepreneurs to quickly find required knowledge and resources at each growth stage.
In recent years, entrepreneurship has become extremely fashionable and is getting more and more recognition as being an engine of social and economic change. In reality, however, we see that still very few businesses survive the first years and among those that do, only a small proportion constitute productive firms that create value by generating new jobs and contributing to local economic growth. This reality is even more exaggerated in developing countries.
Over the last years, there has been more awareness that the performance of new ventures is strongly impacted by something much larger than the business itself: the surrounding ecosystem. As a result, we see many decision-makers and development organizations shifting their attention towards a more holistic approach to facilitate the emergence of these ‘entrepreneurial ecosystems’.
However, this is a complex undertaking and the standard tools applied today do not live up with this new complexity for a variety of reasons:
However, the difference between a functioning and a well-functioning ecosystem is not only if these comprehensive sets of resources and support actors exist, but how well they are orchestrated around the specific needs of entrepreneurs.
We believe that social network analysis can provide an appropriate and innovative methodology for ecosystem builders as it focuses not only on the actors but mainly on the connectivity and relationships between them. By focusing first on the network and not the actors itself, we are able to understand to what level these services are orchestrated and if (and how well) they help entrepreneurs to transition from one growth stage to the next.