SUPPORT | May 14, 2019

Four Key Insights from Entrepreneurship Policy Leaders Around the World

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Startup Nations is pleased to share some analysis based on input received from policymakers around the world across dozens of countries and regions.

Over the past few months, we gathered input from participants of the 2019 Startup Nations Ministerial and its Steering Committee, and interviews with members of Startup Genome’s global assessment network. We also sifted through entries in the Startup Nations Atlas of Policies (SNAP) to identify the specific experiences of policymakers.

Every member of GEN and its Startup Nations policy network has something to teach others — and everyone has something to learn from others in the network. These lessons might be positive: a policy that succeeded, for example. These lessons might also be constructive: something didn’t go as planned, or a policy worked in an unintended way. Here, we highlight what seems to be working, what the barriers to policy success are, and how different countries or regions are addressing those barriers.

How can you make policymaking for entrepreneurship most effective in your country? There are four main takeaways from our work:

1. Start with a Strong Signal

2. Mind the Gap Between Idea and Impact

3. Overcome Implementation Challenges

4. Tackle Overlooked Policy Areas


Insight 1: Start with a Strong Signal

Policymaking should start with — and sustain — a strong signal that entrepreneurship is a priority for the country or region. It’s not enough to include entrepreneurship in a long list of policy priorities: public officials need to plant the entrepreneurship flag in the ground and let everyone know it is important.

What countries have been effective at sending strong signals?

  • Netherlands: Prince Constantijn was appointed as Startup Envoy to make entrepreneurship a high-profile issue in a country that boasts many successful corporate multinationals.
  • Dominican Republic: Within the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, those charged with supporting entrepreneurs are resource-constrained. Yet they have spent enormous amounts of time talking about the importance of entrepreneurship, persuading the private sector to take it seriously and invest in entrepreneurs.
  • Nigeria: A National Council on MSME (micro, small, and medium enterprises) was established at the highest level of government, to be chaired by the Vice President.
  • Poland: In 2018 a Constitution for Business was enacted, which included legal reform and reduction of administrative burdens. But it also included “a charter of entrepreneurs’ fundamental rights,” making cultural support for entrepreneurs clear.

Even when a strong signal is sent, it can lose force in the face of the main obstacle to entrepreneurship policy: the gap between idea and impact. We will discuss our findings in the next post of this series

Dane Stangler is a Senior Advisor to the Global Entrepreneurship Network. In this capacity, Dane provides research and writing on a variety of… About the author

Cristina Fernández focuses on integrating policymakers into startup ecosystems across the world, creating platforms for them to exchange… About the author