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Spending a few days in Moscow last week where I spoke at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance Summit, I found a dynamic and outward facing city with startup communities as vibrant as any in Europe. I check on things in Russia on the eve of this Thursday’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and on the heels of an announcement yesterday that Russia will convene the next Global Entrepreneurship Congress (March 17-20, 2014) only a few yards from the entrance to the Kremlin in the historic Moscow Manege.
The most successful economic periods in the Dominican Republic have been fuelled in the past by growth in tourism, telecommunications and maquiladora manufacturing but a handful of entrepreneurs are working to add new pioneers across all economic sectors. As part of my recent series on Latin America, we take a quick look at developments from the Dominican Republic.
Guatemala’s economic history has been defined by corruption, instability and broad social inequality. In that context, Rigoberta Menchu received the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in promoting indigenous rights in the country. There are now other unnoticed social changers: entrepreneurs who see hope in technology as a tool to overcome social divides, as one local entrepreneur told the New York Times.
In this era of sophisticated public policy around enabling high-growth entrepreneurship, governments should be mindful to not forget the basics. A survey conducted last November in Honduras found that gang violence was forcing the closure of 1600 companies across the country. This is a good reminder that supporting startups to scale up in this part of the world must include deep institutional reforms to strengthen the rule of law and the judicial system.
Global interest in the emerging entrepreneurial economies of Latin America has been on the rise. It is where Endeavor began—launching in Chile and Argentina in 1997—and more recently, the region’s vibrant cultures have led the likes of Geeks on a Plane and the Global Entrepreneurship Congress to take a closer look. This spring we report back from a few economies in the region.
I first visited the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology in Ghana when it first opened in 2008. It was impressive then and it has continued to impress since—helping incubate promising tech startups throughout the country. Five years later, it is part of a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Accra that is laying the foundation for future growth. In our final commentary on Africa, we hear from Alicia Robb, senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation, who has just returned from Ghana about her thoughts on the progress being made.
Botswana is among Africa’s richest countries and the continent’s oldest functioning post-colonial, multi-party democracy. It has low taxes and a stable government that has been ranked as Africa's least corrupt. But it needs entrepreneurs.
While most favor bottom-up, entrepreneur-led efforts to develop robust entrepreneurial ecosystems, in Africa especially, what the government does actually matters a great deal. In the third of four posts this month on Africa, I look at Rwanda and find a country where smart government engagement has created a favorable climate for entrepreneurs.
Chatter about the promise of Africa is not new. Outside economists have been reminding us about relatively high GDP growth rates; China conspiracy theorists keep us informed about who is buying up the continent’s natural resources; and global aid agencies are constantly rewriting their strategies. What is new is the rise of a new generation of Africans that is actually making things happen.
The nurturing of new and young firms has so far not been given much attention in prominent global gatherings. International government meetings have mostly concentrated on passive SME policy and others like the World Economic Forum have treated entrepreneurs as a side ring at the circus. The maturing of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) to fill this gap is thus a welcome development.
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