Where do entrepreneurship ecosystems come from? Are they historical accidents or does someone create them? During Democracy That Delivers for Entrepreneurs in Chicago, April 9-10, expert panelists shared their insights into the rise of these ecosystems…
We continue to suffer profound institutional gaps on the local, national and international levels – especially in the areas of property rights, access to credit and effective governance. I attended the CIPE Democracy that Delivers for Entrepreneurs conference in Chicago on April 9-10 and shared views with thought leaders from Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Philippines and Venezuela. While it may seem that citizens in such developing economies suffer more from institutional paralysis, the pain felt by the local start-up dealing with banks, bureaucracy and back room deals is just as real and just as prevalent on the south and west sides of Chicago.
Organizations decline when leaders and workers focus on function rather than mission. Across the wide spectrum of our global community, too many have lost sight of the core principles that make democracy work, including the right to associate economically, the right to own and finance property, and the right to have government work for everyone, not just the connected elite. The only way to dislodge this entrenched bureaucracy is to make noise – to make our voices heard. We have to demand that government at every level stop tinkering with half-measures and start integrating new thought, new technologies, and the next generation into our institutions.
There is a reason that we call the interlocking network of institutions, attitudes, and policies that enables entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses an “entrepreneurship ecosystem.” An ecosystem is not planted like a garden: it is too complex and unpredictable to simply build from scratch (as the famous Biosphere 2 experiments showed). And, like natural ecosystems, entrepreneurship ecosystems are challenging but vital to cultivate — and all too easy to destroy.
Over the past two days here in Chicago at the Democracy that Delivers for Entrepreneurs conference, panelists from the worlds of business, finance, education, associations, and nonprofits engaged in a lively and productive discussion of how this ecosystem can be nurtured and developed.
It would be impossible to completely distill the diverse range of topics covered at this conference into a single blog post – and we intend to share much more conference content (including videos of each panel) in the coming days and weeks here on the blog and at democracythatdelivers.com. As a start, below are are four of the key lessons that came up repeatedly throughout the conference:
Glenn Tilton delivers the Democracy that Delivers for Entrepreneurs opening address.
Creating a society that encourages entrepreneurship and makes it easy to start and grow a business requires more than just money and a good idea: it requires a whole network of interlocking institutions, policies, and cultural attitudes collectively known as the “entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
Today in Chicago — one of America’s great entrepreneurial cities — policy experts, educators, and business leaders from around the world came together for Democracy that Delivers for Entrepreneurs, a unique conference on building and strengthening these entrepreneurship ecosystems.
Kicking off the conference, Glenn Tilton, Chairman for the Midwest at JPMorgan Chase (which is hosting the event), explained why a large, established company like his is concerned with promoting entrepreneurship. For one thing, developing the economy is good for every company, and entrepreneurs drive growth and create jobs.