Thinkpiece

New frontier or the latest buzzword? Evidence and best practice in entrepreneurship ecosystem development

Published by
ILO

This study examines global entrepreneurial ecosystem approaches in the Global South.

The term 'entrepreneurial ecosystems' (EEs) has gained popularity, but there is a lack of consensus on its practical application, with varying interpretations among organisations and practitioners. More and more EE development efforts regard EEs as complex adaptive systems which require systems change approaches.

The research finds a number of definitions of EE, with the definition best summarizing the general opinion of system builders being: “An EE is a set of interdependent actors and factors interacting in such a way that they enable productive entrepreneurship within a particular territory.”

The study aims to create an integrated framework for analysing and categorising EE approaches, conducting an initial assessment of their effectiveness and sustainability. It also identifies existing gaps and suggests improvement opportunities to assist practitioners and development actors in implementing sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem strategies.

This report seeks to provide answers to the following questions:

  • what is entrepreneurial ecosystem development?
  • who is doing what and how?
  • what are examples of good practices?
  • how can it lead to improved and sustainable impact on entrepreneurs?