Mapping & strengthening local ecosystems
Core to the S4S approach, based on a decade of entrepreneurship development and SME interventions around the world, is the knowledge that entrepreneurs sit on top of, and are invisibly supported by, an entire ecosystem. But ecosystems, outside of the few exemplary clusters in the US and Europe, are almost uniformly incomplete. The success of any attempt to run a substantive program to support entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs will depend on the quality of the ecosystem that surrounds it, and the depth of its engagements with whatever ecosystem exists.
Thus mapping an ecosystem becomes a strategic part of designing programs or policies. S4S has extensive experience at mapping ecosystems. Prior work includes examples such as mapping the entire southwest of the UK and then designing and delivering a program of wide scope to drive new startup growth; working in San Andres in Colombia to develop a more balanced and sustainable local economy, which started by mapping the current conditions, working with the UK’s innovation agency to develop a nationwide program of support for innovation startups, that began by mapping the current scope of support across England and Wales; and finally developing the mapping and assessment system for all incubators and accelerators across the UK as the initial part of developing a means of selecting which accelerators would form a part of Innovate UK’s network. The examples may be found below.
“New firms emerge and grow not because of heroic, talented and visionary individuals...But also because they are located in an ‘ecosystem’ made of private and public players, which nurture and sustain them, making the actions of the entrepreneurs easier.”
The Financial Times of London