Our mission at the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) has always been to build — through programming in 170 countries and 80 GEN affiliate national operations — one global entrepreneurial ecosystem that makes it possible for anyone anywhere to start or scale a business. In the wake of the coronavirus crisis this work has never been more important.
The pandemic was a global crisis tailor-made for a global response. Astoundingly, it never got one. When it comes to rebuilding our economies in the wake of this crisis, we must work collectively rather than in isolation. You may not hear it very often from our elected leaders, but all boats rise, or sink, together. We’ve all seen national borders are porous to viruses. They are equally porous to innovation.
Most net new jobs come from firms less than five years old. Regenerating jobs after COVID-19 depends on eliminating structural barriers that make it harder for more entrepreneurs to iterate ideas and figure out better ways of doing things. As governments focus on economic recovery, they are looking to ecosystems around the world for models and guidance.
Entrepreneurs are the leaders. The rest of us — governments, universities, corporations, investors, accelerators, nonprofits — are here to support them. To do that effectively, we must understand what entrepreneurs really need from us and what interventions are effective. That’s why as one example GEN is building the Startup Nations Atlas of Policies (SNAP), a knowledge portal that gathers next generation policies governments are deploying to unleash their entrepreneurial capacity. It’s also why the 2020 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER), which illuminates what levers to pull and what trends to act on, is so vital.
Make no mistake, we’ve had a massive shake up not just to the global economy, but to the structure of life. There will be winners and losers. Tough adjustments will need to be made. Some business models will no longer be viable. But this crisis has also shown systemic change is possible. Changes that once seemed impossible due to politics or inertia now look possible in a matter of weeks. That disruption isn’t to be feared. It’s to be embraced.
I thank Startup Genome and all our report partners for helping us learn and improve together at a time when the performance of the global entrepreneurial ecosystem has never been more vital to the future of all citizens around the world.