I previously wrote a blog pot entitled Local Entrepreneurial Development = Economic Productivity. If you haven’t read it I suggest you do. It gives a glimpse of how the entrepreneurial spirit develops in a community. In essence the beginning of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The entrepreneurial ecosystem? What is that?
The entrepreneurial ecosystem is an environment where entrepreneurship thrives, resources for entrepreneurship are readily available and the need and want for success is the prominent focus. Entrepreneurial ecosystems help to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and ensure that such spirit sustains by promoting continual development and investment within the ecosystem. Usually such ecosystems are created through public sector and private sector involvement. More precisely, your local college university, your local economic development association and very wealthy individuals searching for investment opportunities. A school is almost always the focal point of such activity because of the ability to facilitate teaching capabilities on a large-scale and due to the ability to retain financial capital through the recognition of continued research and development. People begin to flock to this type of atmosphere these schools provide because the possibility of becoming the next entrepreneur (tech) billionaire is a possibility too tempting to not pursue. This feverish excitement spreads and spreads until you have hundreds and thousands of people working on their entrepreneurial ambitions in a centered area. Examples of such atmospheres include: Stanford University (Silicon Valley), Babson College(an entrepreneurial powerhouse) and there are many more who fit into this category. It is truly amazing what can happen when a school is the engine behind the production of entrepreneurial development.
Then you have your business incubators, which cultivate ambitious entrepreneur’s ideas and push to develop those ideas into sustainable businesses. In the Atlanta area we have: Atlanta Tech Village,Switchyards and Georgia Tech’s Technology Business Incubator. These are spaces where like-minded individuals congregate in order to see their entrepreneurial aspirations come into fruition and scale in growth. These atmospheres are very good for tech start-ups and seem to only cater to them but what about other entrepreneurial endeavors, which focus on other industries of business?
The entrepreneurial ecosystem should not be focused on one system of design. It is most effective when multiple development initiatives are operating at the same time, focusing on specific needs and intersecting when collaboration produces the most effective results. Therefore, the best entrepreneurial ecosystems are those which focus on serving entrepreneurs on a wide range level and not focusing on one particular industry. Entrepreneurs are able to have their needs met by traveling within the ecosystem from point to point along the web because real synergy exist that permits continual growth. A well designed ecosystem’s purpose is to not only sustain entrepreneurial activity but to help it prosper and spread immensely.
The success of it all though depends on the design of the system in place and the hunger for which success is sought after. It has to be a 100% effort collectively on all ends because the ecosystem’s staying power is dependent on actual results and success being produced. It starts with a community and with continual progression eventually becomes an ecosystem. Let’s build and support more entrepreneurial ecosystems in order to ensure the success of our fellow entrepreneurs.