The Global Entrepreneurship Research Network (GERN) is a community of institutions serving the field of practitioners in entrepreneurship ecosystem building, with data collection, rigorous analysis and actionable insights to achieve greater impact.
GERN is part of the wider Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), a platform for entrepreneurial support programs and initiatives operating in 170+ countries. GEN believes that evidence-based programs and interventions can improve entrepreneurial outcomes, and that better-informed ecosystem-building activities lead to more entrepreneur-led value creation. As GEN’s research arm, GERN:
- Curates a community of practice around expanding minimally viable data sets required by entrepreneurial support organizations to monitor performance
- Assesses the impact that different programs and incentives have on building ventures
- Convenes funders and research institutions to undertake new entrepreneurship studies across geographies
- Connects governments and practitioners to build evaluation capacity
Key benchmarking tools include the Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) and the Index of Dynamic Entrepreneurship (IDE). GERN also encourages collaborative initiatives among GERN members, such as the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI), to study what factors make accelerators successful, and the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL) which utilizes the most rigorous scientific methods to examine the effectiveness of particular entrepreneurship support initiatives.
In 2014, GEN and the Kauffman Foundation gathered funders of entrepreneurship research in Moscow during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress to find ways to address this problem: Academic research on entrepreneurship was not keeping pace with the explosion of interest in entrepreneurial activity as a strategy for job creation, innovation and economic growth. The inadequacy of entrepreneurship research was becoming an obstacle to continued progress in advancing entrepreneurial economies.
he research network set out to help translate enthusiasm for entrepreneurship into greater numbers of successful, growing firms, by addressing knowledge gaps among entrepreneurship supporters.
With a history of elevating the quality and quantity of academic entrepreneurship research in entrepreneurship, the Kauffman Foundation became the funder of GERN operations.
While advances have been made, researchers agree that there remains a paucity of data around which policies and programs actually help increase rates of new firm formation. At the same time, there is a growing demand for more robust evidence on what policies and interventions make a demonstrated difference in helping entrepreneurs.
GERN’s mission is to provide policymakers and entrepreneurship support program leaders with:
- Greater quality and quantity of ecosystem diagnostics tools that are based on rigorous research.
- Improved access to strategy analysis and impact evaluations to help them achieve their goals.
- Enhanced availability of timely entrepreneurship data.
- Access to reliable benchmarking tools for gauging potential for entrepreneurial growth.