Endeavor Insight’s latest research, in partnership with the Gates Foundation

Endeavor Insight, Endeavor’s in-house think tank, has released a new body of research analyzing how decision makers can empower local entrepreneurship communities in emerging markets. The report, “Fostering Productive Entrepreneurship Communities: Key Lessons on Generating Jobs, Economic Growth & Innovation,” is grounded in 18 months of research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is one of the largest studies ever conducted on entrepreneurship communities.

The findings summarized in the report are based on interviews with more than 2,000 technology entrepreneurs in six cities — Bangalore, Nairobi, Dhaka, Lagos, Dar Es Salaam, and Lahore — as well as secondary data on over 5,000 tech founders and their companies. Data was also gathered on more than 500 investment firms and local entrepreneurship support organizations.

Though the project utilizes data from major cities in emerging markets, its findings are corroborated by similar research conducted in more developed metropolitan areas, such as New York City.

In addition, the lessons drawn from these technology companies are consistent with Endeavor’s experience supporting more than 1,700 fast-growing entrepreneurs in a wide range of global industries and operating Endeavor Catalyst, one of the most active venture capital funds outside Silicon Valley.

The study is one of the first research projects to use network analyses to assess the collective impact of founders, investors, and other actors in entrepreneurship communities. These analyses revealed five critical lessons on entrepreneurship communities and productivity that are likely to surprise many people working in the entrepreneurship field, including:

  • A number of popular support initiatives may actually be harming entrepreneurs’ productivity. Data suggests that this is due to predictable mistakes. These initiatives often elevate unqualified leaders and waste efforts on very low-potential businesses.
  • Network analyses also indicate that decision makers can play positive roles by empowering leaders with unique entrepreneurship experience to influence others in specific ways. This strategy, referred to as “Entrepreneur-Led Economic Development,” utilizes existing local strengths to increase the productivity of businesses in the community.

The report also offers practical recommendations that decision makers can use to implement Entrepreneur-Led Economic Development in cities across the world.

Read the full report here.

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