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119 EIGHT How It Works and Who Does It IN EXPLORING THE MAKEUP of entrepreneurship ecosystems via the Six+Six Model, we have seen that new businesses rarely “go it alone.” Startup founders rely on helping hands, be it pro-entrepreneurship government policies, an angel investment, or just a chance to pitch an idea. Did even Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates (both college dropouts) need a hand? Yes, of course. Remember, their companies grew not in the Central African Republic— where angel and venture investors, sage mentorship, and legal protections are practically nonexistent—but in what is almost universally considered to be a nurturing, enabling ecosystem. All startups, even the ones that grow to be successful in America, need help overcoming obstacles. Entrepreneurship is no cakewalk. In fact, starting a business is just about the hardest thing one can do professionally. In emerging and developing economies, the places this book is most concerned with, the constraints are often more obvious and easier to pinpoint. An Omidyar Network-sponsored Monitor Group report titled Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa makes no bones about the truth that startups and their founders need help. The report identified a “prohibitive” cost of capital, a dearth of professional and managerial skills, and a lack of quality business support services as real barriers to entrepreneurialism on the African continent.1 Ramez Mohammad, CEO of the Egypt-based Flat6Labs accelerator, says MENA entrepreneurs have difficulty accessing startup capital, too, and that they operate “in closed markets in terms of 120 PEACE THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP data and information” about competition and regulations unless they can afford a high-flying consultant to conduct market studies and legal analyses.2 It follows that the more startups that have access to a helping hand, the more startups we will see succeed, grow, and create jobs. The nature of those helping hands is the focus of this chapter. Government is an obvious player, but there are many other so-called “intermediaries,”3 as captured by the players in the Six+Six Model: NGOs, foundations, academia, investors, governments, and corporations. The previous chapter mentioned Endeavor, a nonprofit that supports promising startups in certain ecosystems with close mentorship. Endeavor has seen its mentee companies create jobs five times faster than comparable companies and grow 2.4 percent faster.4 Their programming appears to produce real results. But ecosystem building and entrepreneurship programming are new enough concepts that the jury is still out about what works, and to what extent. Stepping up entrepreneurship programming will require commensurately stepping up monitoring and evaluation to improve programming and determine the very best practices. Indeed, even in the case of Endeavor, one of the gold standards of entrepreneurship support organizations, it is difficult to prove a direct causation between participation in the program and accelerated success. Some critics point out that supporting highperforming “winners” proves very little since these founders may well have been successful no matter what, with or without programming like Endeavor ’s. Nevertheless, Endeavor’s success over nearly twenty years in twenty countries suggests there is something to their model, and there are many indications that similar programs have had positive effects. Indeed, all my championing of entrepreneurship would be for naught if we did not have evidence of programs that can, in fact, turbo-charge ecosystems. The good news is that such programs do exist and the U.S. government can and should support them to better promote entrepreneurship in fragile, developing, and emerging economies around the world. There really are ways to implement the Six+Six Model and actually do something about the 30-plus percent youth unemployment rates that undermine Middle East stability, that render jihad a decent career choice, and that threaten America. This chapter discusses specific programs under each of the Six+Six Model’s ecosystem parameters and examines exactly how ecosystems can do a better job of identifying, training, connecting and sustaining, funding, enabling, and celebrating entrepreneurs. HOW IT WORKS AND WHO DOES IT 121 Before we start, in self-defense and indemnification, I want to make clear that the programs, organizations, and people mentioned in this chapter (and throughout this book) are far from the only practitioners of entrepreneurship promotion. These choices might not always be the best, but they are a sampling of notable groups I have come across during my work as creator and manager of the State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program, as an advisor to startups, and as a consultant in the entrepreneurship space thereafter. The organizations...


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