Here at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Moscow, everyone is sold on the importance of creating entrepreneurial ecosystems. There is no shortage of ideas for doing this, and the quest has risen to the level of public policy. As Jonathan Ortmans has noted, governments are now interacting with grassroots networks that are driving bottom-up ecosystem building.
Entrepreneurship advocates should pay close attention to the sphere of public-private dialogue (PPD) as a powerful means for cracking the ecosystem code in each community. Public-private dialogue is a space for discovering policy solutions that are targeted, mutually agreed, and sustainable.
Long established as a tool for regulatory reform and market development around the world, PPD has the potential to uncover policy solutions for entrepreneurship, whether it’s policy for financing, taxes, innovation, education, or any other aspect of the enabling environment.
Dialogue can be initiated by either side. Compelling examples include the Taiwanese government’s consultation with expatriate engineers, which led to its policy for high-tech small firms; and grassroots policy advocacy for crowd funding in the United States, started by just three entrepreneurs.
At the Moscow Research and Policy Summit, CIPE organized a panel with its partners around its experience in public-private dialogue. Laith Al-Qasem, founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Association, described YEA’s success in amending capital requirements for Jordanian businesses. Selima Ahmad, founder of the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, described how they were able to obtain no-collateral loans for women entrepreneurs via Bangladesh Bank. Majdi Hassen, who leads the Arab Institute of Chief Executives (IACE), shared how entrepreneurs have organized themselves for advocacy in Tunisia.
To be sure, entrepreneurs are so busy running startups that they have little time to spare for policy engagement. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs have demonstrated an ingenious ability to form networks and communities and to innovate their way around barriers. If policymakers meet them half way in public-private dialogue, the future of ecosystem building will be much brighter.
Kim Bettcher is Senior Knowledge Manager at CIPE.