Would you like to make your mark in the startup universe? All it takes is an app.
Along with Startup Commons EcosystemOS, we are establishing a global ecosystem applications marketplace to connect leading application developers with three ecosystem customer segments: business creators, startup support providers and ecosystem developers. If you have an awesome existing app for one of these three segments, we encourage you to submit your application today to join our very first developer cohort.
Problems Worth Solving
Are you a Business Creator, Support Provider or Ecosystem Developer? Are you frustrated by the lack of good applications or models to solve your big pain point and cant find a proper solutions?
Share your pain with us, and we will share it with motivated app developers, looking to build applications to problems worth solving and look into ways of co-creating and contributing along the way.
Looking to develop an application?
To get creative juices flowing, we are sharing one such concept "open ipr" openly here with the world that have been iteratively developed as part of Startup Commons work with European Commission and several ecosystems, to help solve the problem of unused resources and other IPR not connecting with innovative business creators - leaving more than 90% valuable research findings being under utilized in business creation.
Download PDF below or open via Google Drive for comments and questions.
You have until May 2018 to submit an application. We have created this short design thinking guide to get you started on your application development journey:
Step 1: Choose a startup development phase.
Do you want to focus on the formation, validation, or growth phase?
Step 2: Identify a customer segment.
Do you want to build an app for business creators, support providers, or ecosystem developers?
Step 3: Develop empathy for your target customer segment.
Engage in perspective taking to understand target segment needs by asking questions and gaining ground-level experience. We suggest conducting informational interviews and shadowing people in your target customer segment. The goal of this step is to gain an understanding of what matters most to the people in your target customer segment and figure out what challenges they face.
Step 4: Define the problem that you want to solve.
Based on the needs of your target customer segment, create a clear definition of the problem that you want to solve for them.
Step 5: Ideate solutions to the problem.
Sketch and model ideas for how you can solve the problem. There are no bad ideas at this stage. Put every possibility on the table, and defer judgement until the end of the process. Ideating solutions is most effective with a team or group of collaborators. Once you have entertained all possibilities, vote and choose the idea that you would like to pursue.
Step 6: Prototype your solution.
Build a minimum viable product (MVP). This version of the product should allow you to collect the maximum amount of information about customer preferences with the least effort. Hackernoon.com provides an excellent guide to minimum viable products.
Step 7: Test your application.
Engage in validated learning. Use focus groups and customer feedback to figure out what works and where improvements are needed.
Step 8: Repeat steps 3-7.
Follow the lean methodology of build-measure-learn-repeat. However, don’t be afraid to submit your application once you reach this step! You can always keep improving it.
To continue diving deeper into topic, have a look at the video below...
Startups are the future of finance.
This trend is not limited to fintech startups. While fintech companies will play essential roles in financial inclusion and alternative finance, startups that specialize in the smart grid and internet of things are positioned to make markets.
If you are considering founding or supporting startups, you should seriously consider entering the data space. Put on your scuba gear.
Using examples from water markets, we are about to dive into data.
How can startups make markets?
Market Development Hierarchy of Needs
Investors need data if markets are going to emerge and this is where innovative startups play a role.
At the base of the hierarchy, internet-of-things and smart-grid startups need to collect data on relevant information, such as water flow and electricity use.
Once sufficient data is in place, basic commodity markets can emerge to facilitate trading of water, using spot prices and forward contracts.
According to Investopedia, “A forward contract is a customized contract between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a specified price on a future date.”
These contracts are sold over-the-counter, without exchanges, and can be used for hedging or speculation. As more data is gathered, the public and private sectors can collaborate to create regulated exchanges. Once exchanges have been developed, market participants can trade futures, which are essentially standardized forward contracts, and other derivatives of the underlying commodity.
If markets develop for water, then water pricing will theoretically become more efficient. Through the use of financial instruments, industries that rely on water, such as the agriculture and energy sectors, will be able to hedge their exposure to fluctuations in water supply and price.
Governments can also craft better resource policies as water markets become more mature. Utility companies will also face higher incentives to minimize leakages and use electricity more efficiently for water pumping and processing.
Water Sector Startups
Numerous startups have already begun gathering data in the water sector.
As you can see, these startups utilize leading-edge technologies to capture water data. They comprise the first level of the market development hierarchy.
The next steps are market creation and water trading.
Water will become the next oil.
Do you agree?
Multiple factors are converging to create water trading markets.
On one hand, data on water usage and weather patterns is becoming more abundant. Additionally, water is becoming a scarcer resource as global population increases strain water supplies, due to both agricultural production and household consumption.
According to the United Nations, the world population was 7.3 billion in 2015, and it is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.
The United Nations says, “With the existing climate change scenario, almost half the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030.”
Additionally, “the world needs to produce at least 50% more food to feed 9 billion people by 2050.”
As these factors converge, governments will recognize the need to manage water resources, companies will search for efficient water pricing, and traders will find fortunes to be made.
Emerging Commodity Markets
The same principles that apply to water markets can be applied whenever demand exists for scarce resources. When resources fail to exist in abundance, conditions become ripe for market development. As people develop new resources, such as technical apparatuses and pharmaceutical products, new commodity markets will emerge.
People will also undeniably find new applications for previously unused natural resources. Oil markets did not exist until people started using oil for energy. As new applications and innovations emerge, new commodity markets will come into existence.
Who will make the next markets?
Startup Commons with his startup development phases framework can help to plan the journey.
Startup Commons has released entire Growth Academy innovation entrepreneurship curriculum training materials with more than 700+ slides, along with supporting booklets for free co-development and use.
All is released under Creative Commons licensing and in editable format.
The curriculum is built, designed and refined over the years to increase the volume of entrepreneurship and likelihood of startup success by focusing on removing or reducing the biggest “universal risks” and to educate about optimal methods and structures.
The base knowledge shared via these trainings is accumulation of more than twenty years of international serial entrepreneurship experience combined with more than ten years of parallel experience on startup advisory.
➡️ If you are interested join our facebook groups:
Startup Ecosystem Developers
Innovation Entrepreneurship Education providers/trainers
Case Study - Swiss Entrepreneurship Program (Swiss EP): Support to Startup Macedonia in Macedonia, January 2018
Swisscontact, in consortium with J.E. Austin Associates, is supporting the strengthening of
entrepreneurship ecosystem organizations and actors to aid the development of business
startups and growth-oriented small businesses in Macedonia.
Description of the mission
Target of the mission
The main objective of the mission was to strengthen the capabilities of the managers/members of Startup Macedonia to manage the association in a sustainable way, and to offer quality demand-driven services and support to the ecosystem as a whole.
We delivered final report where we proposed a roadmap plan working at multiple levels (connecting top-down and bottom-up approaches, taking into account specific function verticals and business vertical ecosystems) but being conducted step by step in very transparent manner to achieve consensus and solid progress amongst key ecosystem players within Macedonia ecosystem.
See also: “Connecting the Macedonian Ecosystem, 2018“ - research following Startup Common’s framework for ecosystem development, where Startup Macedonia engaged in conversation with startups and support organization to identify key challenges and opportunities for an ecosystem growth.
The article is written by Davis Miller. He writes about business, negotiation, sales and many other similar topics. His site, www.thegappartnership.us, provides workshop for negotiation.
You’re there, that deadlock where negotiations have faltered and there’s
nothing more to say. Or is there? A seasoned negotiator knows that there are
ten ways you could still seal that deal:
1. Suggest a break. Although this sounds like a cop-out, it’s good psychology. Using the “let’s take a coffee break and come back to this” approach allows you to sweep the other party along for joint refreshments. Keep conversation friendly and low key, giving the other party a chance to get to know you on another level ~ at the very least, you’ll go back into the negotiations refreshed and with a greater understanding of the person you’re negotiating with.
2. Context is everything but it’s easy to get caught up in looking at things from one direction only, so try a different approach. For example, if the stalemate relates to costs, shift negotiations in the direction of terms or time-frame. This alters the focus but still keeps things moving along whilst both parties gain time to quietly re-consider those costing options.
3. If you have the upper hand in the negotiations but have hit a stalemate, then suggest a cooling-off period. It’s a risky strategy which isn’t recommended if you’re not in the driving seat, but if you are negotiating a deal that’s of greater importance to the other person, the chances are that suggesting an adjournment will re-open those immediate negotiations. However, do ensure you make the suggestion in a friendly, respectful way which is not dismissive or rude ~ you never know how much you might need this business in the future.
4. Be honest about what exactly the stumbling block is for you and why you are unable to relent in that area. This will invite the other person to do the same, in which case you are both still negotiating in a way which might allow you to identify a mutual adjustment and shared solution.
5. Consider how much you want this negotiation to work and what is the smallest compromise that you could make in order to secure this deal. If the compromise is possible, then offer it and move things along.
6. Be aware of your future prospects and dealings with your opposing number. Is it worth it to you to offer not just compromises, but sacrifices, in order to secure the deal and future business, a business equivalent of the retail ‘loss-leader’?
7. Ask for a legal opinion on the proposed contract. Most people respect the legalities of business and understand that this is a regular part of business agreements. In this instance, it not only keeps the negotiations open where they may have faltered, but also buys both parties valuable breathing space in which to reconsider those sticky areas.
8. However difficult the negotiations have become, don’t be trite or unprofessional in your dialogue. Using phrases such as “I hear what you’re saying but ...” imply that you are actually rejecting their points. Turn this on its head by looking for joint solutions in a “so what can we do to make this work ...?” kind of way, which shows that you’re not only listening but also trying to make things work in a professional and courteous manner.
9. Talk business. Literally, steer the conversation away from the sticking points and onto the greater topic of future business you could do together. Nothing helps encourage compromise more than the promise of future business and now’s the time to remind your colleague about this.
10. Keep something up your sleeve. Always go into a negotiation with a little something you could use for leeway, a special offer, deal or discount which can come into play as a ‘thank you’ for sealing the deal then and there. This in itself can often
make the deal happen.
Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, February 26, 2018 - Startup Commons announces global ecosystem applications marketplace with open call for app developers around the world building applications, SaaS services or platforms focused on startups business creation, managing support services for startups or managing & coordinating ecosystem development, and looking to expand to more ecosystems.
“As part of our work with various startup ecosystems around the world, we came across growing interest in applications used in other regions, to learn from these applications and developers for own local ecosystem needs.” - says Oscar Ramirez, CEO, Startup Commons Global.
“We know there are number of great applications and online services being developed and operated in these ecosystems. There are also many exceptional and dedicated developers working on their digital solutions, having great understanding and perspective of ecosystem developers challenges, understanding business creators or support providers needs at various startup development phases.
As a global ecosystem facilitators with a member base of over 30 000 ecosystem actors around the world, we want to help good applications scale to new markets with new user & customers, and help ecosystems key actors to find best connected applications to accelerate their progress and ecosystem development.”
Applications Marketplace is a natural extension of Startup Commons EcosystemOS - a serverless cloud architecture for developers, including ecosystem level user accounts and ecosystem API's, with global standards and documentation for user data portability, API connections, data models, data sharing principles.
Open a call for first batch of ten best digital solutions:
Apply to join Startup Commons Marketplace
Oscar Ramirez, CEO
Phone: +34 656 180 880
About Startup Commons
Startup Commons is dedicated to digitizing and connecting startup ecosystems globally to scale entrepreneurship, innovation and business creation around the world, by providing digital connectivity and solutions to enable data-driven economic development and policy making for local ecosystems.
This post is for anyone taking part with entrepreneurship, innovation or startup ecosystem development at any level.
As part of iteratively improving our Startup Ecosystem development framework, Startup Commons has created a new approach to describe key actor segments in startup ecosystems. Our website is now also divided between these four segments: business creators, support providers, ecosystem developers, digital teams - to help you find the most relevant content for each segment.
Although there are overlaps between the various roles that people play, we have learned that it is valuable for ecosystem actors to identify the roles that they play at any given time to enhance the effectiveness of their interactions within the broader ecosystem.
A simple example is our Growth Academy's startup entrepreneurship education curriculum that has at least two relevant segments and perspectives;
From Ecosystem Developers' perspectives, they should be aware of and evaluate the availability of such or similar curriculum in their ecosystem and how it is performing ie. how is it made available, offline and/or digital format? how often is it run? What is the number of participants? What is the feedback for quality/value of the curriculum for participants? What is the impact for ecosystem top level KPI’s (like number of new businesses created, improved success rate, faster growth, etc.)?
Step by step, we will be adding these segments into all of our materials and applying them to all of our communications going forward. This should not only help you find the most relevant content on our website but also help you to understand the perspective from which any items can be perceived.
Key Ecosystem Roles in more detail
Please take some time to understand these roles since they will help you make sense of the jobs that people do within your ecosystem and identify which roles need to be filled.
A. Business Creators
Business Creators are people who as their primary role develop new companies. They include founders, entrepreneurs, key team members, investors and board members. Ie. founders & other equity holders. In this segment, there are naturally category specific subroles at the strategy and operative levels, as well as for specific skills or company operations specific roles. From finance to management, to designers, developers, sales etc.
Business Creators perspective, role, and focus is in one company (or depending on their more specific role to only few companies) at a time for longer period of time in logical and balanced manner over longer period of time; especially in case of being a founder, early team member, or angel investor.
It is also quite common that people who are founders, later on become "serial entrepreneurs" and Business Creators in more flexible or more systematic ways. Ie. more flexible would be becoming an advisor board member, mentor etc. and more systematic would be to become an angel investor, VC, create own accelerator etc.
Many Business Creators also work together with support providers as mentors, advisors board members etc. to a) share their expertise for support organizations needs and/or b) to build relationships to get "deal flow" of new entrepreneurs and early startups with which to work. As they become more involved, they will acquire more channels for "deal flow" and reputation building. At the same time, involvement in the ecosystem is a lot about just "giving back" as well.
B. Support providers
Support providers are all the public and private support function providers catering support services directly for venture building, mainly free or for nominal fees (subsidized by government or other bigger organizations). The support providers are available in the ecosystem, and providing the support function is their primary role. At the same time, some of them also have overlapping roles in venture building (investors, board members, accelerators etc.) or in ecosystem development (universities, incubators, banks etc.). Additionally, in this category, there are naturally category specific subroles at the strategy and operative levels, as well as for specific skills or organization operations specific roles. From finance to management, to designers, developers, sales etc. depending on the support function.
Support providers' jobs are to cater for specific need of Business Creators at a specific stage of the ventures development and provide support to that need effectively. As such their support for venture may be very effective, deep and valuable, but it’s meant to serve a high volume of ventures and only for relatively short time (to remove the need and help venture move forward).
Most support service organization primary operative people do not typically possess an entrepreneurial background, or they may have some experience from long ago, without big success (there are naturally expectations as well). They learn from their partner mentors but also from startups they help, as well as many many trainings, events etc. that they organize, listen, and learn.
While support providers may not have first hand experience, they have a lot of "holistic" understanding and can be very helpful to new entrepreneurs. They also gain unique perspectives on startups because they see a lot of them, gaining exposure to many ideas and types of people. They develop a strong and interesting skillset, especially if they cater to various different support functions at different development stages over time. These roles also help to create necessary talent for ecosystems, and some support providers eventually join startup teams or become founders or other Business Creators themselves.
The key difference in perspective between Business Creators and Support function providers is that Business Creators focus on one, or a maximum of a few, ventures at a time for longer periods of time, and they possess direct stakes (equity positions) in their companies' success, gradually developing them through various development phases. On the other hand, support function providers mainly focus on specific needs of business creation, typically at a specific stage of the venture's life, without having direct stake in the outcome. This gives them neutral and non-biased positions. It also means that support function providers cater to higher volumes of ventures in shorter periods of time, focusing on solving specific needs at hand.
In earlier stages of development, the volume of ventures is higher, and the hands-on interaction period is shorter. Additionally, in the earlier stages, support providers help to partially fill in for certain types of roles and provide external perspectives in the short term before the team have other “more built-in” external/strategy perspective business creators committed (ie. board members, advisors, investors).
C. Ecosystem Developers
Ecosystem Developers are focused on startup ecosystem orchestration and are made of policy makers and ecosystem developer individuals whose primarily interest and role is to develop the ecosystem as a whole. The key focus of ecosystem developers is not directly in either venture building or providing a specific support function but rather to focus on developing and growing the ecosystem from these components in indirect ways. Ecosystem developers directly support operative support providers and indirectly support business creators (policy, funding instruments, funding for support functions etc.).
To be able to develop the ecosystem, ecosystem developers need to create and maintaining holistic pictures of the majority of businesses being created and the related “collective support providers funnel” composed from individual support functions available for the Business Creators needs - and to manage the balance between these two main segments at various development stages, verticals and levels (availability balance between need & supply at any given time). They also manage the effective quality and efficiency of these services. Where there are gaps, bottlenecks, unmet needs, imbalance, inefficiency or obstacles, - new ecosystem development initiatives should be created. However, before creating new initiatives, a holistic view of existing initiatives and their statuses should be collected.
While there may be multiple organizations running development projects independently or collectively, ecosystem developers' roles are to coordinate and maintain lists of these ecosystem development initiatives and projects in logical manners and manage up-to-date information about their priorities and statuses.
D. Digital teams & Applications
Each of the other segments have some different connections with the digital side or even have their own digital team members, ie applications to support operative processes like CRM, newsletters etc., websites for publishing information, online services & tools like communities, or funding applications etc. and people making selections for these tools and providing supporting for users. This fourth segment is divided to two parts: (1)those who select the applications to be used and provide user support for those within their organization (digital teams) and (2)tools being used (applications) & developers who actually create new ones or develop them.
Digital skills are in high demand and short supply - Digital teams are responsible for developing, testing, and implementing a set strategy to reach, engage and serve target audiences through digital channels and applications like web, mobile, and social. While other groups may create the strategy, draft the messaging, etc. a digital team works hand-in-hand with communication and service team leaders to create the digital strategy, most often reporting through the CEO or COO. Digital teams are also often responsible for providing guidelines and tracking for KPI's and implementing cross-channel analytics, as well as surfacing relevant emerging trends and audience behavior. Digital teams collaborate heavily with application people, who are responsible for critical technology infrastructure and associated applications.
Naturally within these segments, there are also related categories like designers, frontend and backend developers, project managers, support people etc. The main reason to separate digital teams and applications into its own segment is that while they are part of any of the other segments they can be considered to focus only on a) what applications are needed, b) what will be used (including in some cases to self develop suitable application) and c) how to use the selected applications to support the main functions.
To help make digital transformation in economic development for more data-driven policy making, learn how a ecosystem level digital team setup would look like.
If you found this post valuable in your ecosystem development activities, please consider sharing it with your network.
Download related presentation: Ecosystem Key Actor Segments
About Ecosystem Development
We know startup ecosystem development and understand it is a multilayered, complex and challenging long term endeavor. However, this is where economic development is competing now globally, and the only way to be competitive is to attack the challenge head on and keep going.
This is a small summary snapshot of our more complete Startup Ecosystem development framework and materials. Get in touch to start scheduling a workshop or consulting project to take your ecosystem to next level.
Key performance indicators (KPI’s) play a vital role in startup ecosystem financing. In addition to helping policy developers visualize and benchmark growth, KPI’s enable economic development organizations and support providers to make highly informed financial decisions. Does your organization want to learn how to save money, manage risk, and stimulate economic growth? It’s time to learn how to use KPI’s in startup ecosystem financing.
Startup Development Phases
Before implementing KPI’s, you must first understand startup development phases. Startups go through three phases: formation, validation, growth. During each phase, startups require different services, which is where support providers can assist. Specific KPI’s are relevant to each phase. For example, the number of new participants may be relevant during the formation phase, and the number of actions to validate assumptions may be a useful metric for the validation phase.
Startup Growth Funnel
As startups transition from one phase to the next, a certain percentage will fail and drop out of the process. Others will graduate from various programs and enter new ones as they move to more advanced phases. Entry sources, dropout rates, and numbers of participants are helpful KPI’s to track if you want to gather a holistic picture of the ecosystem and understand what support services, as well as ecosystem entry points, are the most promising.
However, these KPI’s are virtually useless to ecosystem developers, unless they can act on them. It is essential that ecosystem developers, such as economic development organizations, tie their resource allocations to KPI’s. How can ecosystem developers accomplish this? Ecosystem mapping is the best place to start.
Using Startup Commons’ Ecosystem Mapping Application, ecosystem developers can visualize support services in relation to startup development phases. When it is combined with KPI’s, the Ecosystem Mapping Application paints a clear picture of which support services are the most effective, and it highlights gaps in services that need to be filled.
Ecosystem developers should use KPI’s when deciding how to allocate financial resources to support providers. With their funding contingent on KPI’s, support providers should allocate financial and educational resources to startups, based on the startups’ KPI’s.
Let’s use an example. Suppose Accelerator A and Accelerator B both serve startups in the validation phase. However, Accelerator B has a 50% higher dropout rate for startups moving into the growth phase. Furthermore, startups in Accelerator B take 75% less actions to validate assumptions than startups in Accelerator A, and all other factors are constant. If ecosystem developers tie the accelerators’ funding to their dropout rates, then Accelerator B will have a high incentive to move more startups into the growth phase. Accelerator B can accomplish this by investing more financial and educational resources into helping its startups take actions to validate assumptions.
Although scenarios are never usually this simple, the example illustrates how KPI’s can help ecosystem developers and support providers make better financial decisions, which will ultimately improve ecosystem outcomes. Rather than making blind investments, KPI’s enable financiers to structure agreements where funding is contingent on outcomes and incentives are properly aligned.
Startup Commons’ KPI Data Dashboard makes it easy for ecosystem developers to monitor and measure KPI’s throughout their ecosystems. If you are interested in tracking KPI’s or mapping your ecosystem, please reach out to us through the form below. We can also teach you more advanced financial engineering and hedging strategies to improve your startup ecosystem financing.
What would you do for data? Would you pay money, provide services, or barter with tools? How do different organizations exchange data in startup ecosystems?
In the modern era, data is becoming an exceedingly precious commodity. A digital transformation in economic development is taking place as data-driven policy development begins to shape the world. Startup ecosystem analytics will play a vital role in this digital transformation, fueling data-driven policy development in the startup space.
Startup Commons is working to help startup ecosystem developers adapt to this digital transformation by offering GovTech for economic development, specifically startup ecosystems. Our Digital Ecosystem Applications are designed to help ecosystem developers, support organizations, and startups exchange data in startup ecosystems. Since our tools are designed to facilitate data exchange, we would like to share with you how the transactions work.
As illustrated in the graphics, information flows between organizations and the digital infrastructure, which is centrally operated by the startup ecosystem development team. In order to make the data flow, larger entities typically provide money, support, and tools to smaller entities. As organizations share real data about their performance and developments, they can receive more money, support, and tools. This creates a positive feedback loop of information flow.
Once organizations begin sharing data between others, they can start comparing results on regional, national, and global levels. Our KPI Data Dashboard, a form of GovTech for economic development, enables government agencies policy makers and NGO’s to share and compare startup ecosystem statistical data with other regions to benchmark economic growth. Service providers can also use various Digital Ecosystem Applications to compare outcomes in the context of startup ecosystem analytics.
Business creators and startup teams can also compare their data, as well as business performance, with other startups in similar development phases and industries. The above graphic explains the various startup development phases. Startup teams can get started with visualizing and benchmarking their progress with tools like Business Plan Tool and others, provided in their ecosystem.
With broader understanding how to exchange data in startup ecosystems, we encourage you to reach out to us, to learn more about our Digital Ecosystem Applications. We help you connect, visualize, and benchmark your startup ecosystem, Contact us today.
Entrepreneurship education differs from other disciplines. When you train students to become entrepreneurs, you are teaching people to create their own jobs, serve unmet needs, and change the way society functions. Essentially, you are teaching them how to navigate uncharted waters. Traditional business schools, as well as other vocational programs, use clear metrics to define student success. These metrics include how many students get jobs and how much they earn. Benchmarking entrepreneurship education is a much more difficult task. How can universities and entrepreneurship education programs measure student outcomes in uncharted waters?
The LEO-I Model
According to “Entrepreneurship Education Comes of Age on Campus,” a 2013 Kauffman report, Arizona State University has developed an innovative model to measure entrepreneurship education outcomes. The LEO-I model consists of four dimensions: Landscape, Engagements, Output, Impact.
Landscape: What courses, clubs, services, etc. does the university offer to train students in entrepreneurship?
Engagements: How many students, faculty, and staff are participating in the university’s entrepreneurship offerings? How many are starting? How many are finishing?
Output: How many ventures are students starting? How much funding have these ventures received? How many patents are being created? (Output covers quantifiable outcomes.)
Impact: How are the university’s entrepreneurship education programs changing the world, as well as students’ lives? Are student ventures sustainable? (Impact is much harder to measure than output.)
Problems with the LEO-I Model
The LEO-I model provides a strong starting point for benchmarking entrepreneurship education, but it lacks in several areas.
Solutions to LEO-I Model Problems
Here is the overview of solutions to the problems that occur within the LEO-I model:
Now, let us explore each solution in greater detail.
Benchmarking Entrepreneurship Education at the Ecosystem Level
Universities are clearly not the only institutions educating entrepreneurs. Formal training programs, such as accelerators and workshops, help entrepreneurs build key skills, grow their startups, and raise investment capital. Additionally, mentors, advisors, and collaborators provide informal training and support for entrepreneurs.
In a sense, startup ecosystems are like giant universities, offering a wide selection of entrepreneurship services. However, it is much easier for universities to keep track of their entrepreneurship offerings than startup ecosystems since universities are more centralized than startup ecosystems. In order for data-driven economic development to occur within startup ecosystems, policy makers and ecosystem developers need mechanisms to apply the LEO-I model to their startup ecosystems.
This is where Startup Commons can help. Our Ecosystem Mapping Application and Startup Ecosystem Portal enable ecosystem developers to understand the landscapes of their entire ecosystems. By applying our Ecosystem Development Framework, which is based on our Startup Development Phases, ecosystem developers can easily measure engagements and outcomes for their entire ecosystem, as well as specific entrepreneurship education programs.
Applying KPI’s to Measure Impact
Using KPI's to measure impact is nothing new. Impact investment firms, such as Village Capital, already maintain impact metrics on their portfolio companies. Village Capital’s KPI's include amount of carbon emissions offset, number of low-income students served, acres of farmland sustainably managed, kilowatts of solar power installed, etc. Social entrepreneurship accelerators, such as Halcyon Incubator, also track impact metrics. Halcyon uses broad KPI's, including number of lives impacted globally and number of jobs created, because the companies that they serve span a wide range of sectors.
Although impact investment firms and social entrepreneurship accelerators maintain impact KPI's, the companies that they serve are ultimately responsible for reporting the data. Essentially, the investment firms and accelerators ask for the data that they want, and the companies give it to them. This brings us to standardization of KPI's.
In the cases of Village Capital and Halcyon, a central authority acts to standardize KPI's by asking companies for certain data. Using the Startup Commons KPI Data Dashboard, ecosystem developers can standardize KPI's throughout their ecosystem. This puts startups, support providers, and entrepreneurship education providers on the same page. The KPI Data Dashboard also makes it simple for policy makers to understand what is working in their economic development efforts.
Additionally, ecosystem developers can use the KPI Data Dashboard’s API’s to share data with other parties. For example, ecosystem developers in multiple cities could share data between their startup ecosystems to compare economic development policies. They could also share the data with foreign investors to attract them to their regions. Of course, sharing data only makes sense if KPI’s are coordinated across startup ecosystems. This is why collaboration is key to global startup ecosystem development.
Now, you hopefully understand how to overcome the problems with LEO-I and can successfully apply the model to your startup ecosystem development efforts. Whether you work for an investment firm or entrepreneurship education provider, you need to be sure to standardize your KPI’s across organizations. By placing an ecosystem development team in charge of your ecosystem data, you can create a centralized authority to standardize KPI’s and apply the LEO-I method to benchmark your ecosystem’s entrepreneurship education efforts.
“Current trends toward entrepreneurship and resisting hierarchy, as well as the desire to create egalitarian work spaces, are nothing new,” according to Fred Turner, a communications professor at Stanford University. “It is a rhetoric that comes right out of the 1940s.” Turner found that the 1960’s American counterculture, as well as the modern entrepreneurship movement, “owes many of its ideals, and particularly its understanding of how media shapes people, to a generation… that really came to life during World War II.”
Both the 1960’s American counterculture and modern entrepreneurship movement developed predominantly in the greater San Francisco area, although they were also connected to New York City. What implications does the formation of the 1960’s American counterculture have for people working to develop startup ecosystems in other parts of the world?
Promote Openness, Collaboration, and Independent Thinking
The Committee for National Morale convened in New York during the 1940’s to promote an open, flexible, collaborative, and democratic personality among the American people. Commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, Bauhaus artists then created propaganda exhibitions, which people were supposed to interpret as free democratic individuals, to further the Committee’s goals. Turner links the Committee for National Morale and the Bauhaus aesthetics to the multimedia environments that would become cornerstones of the 1960’s countercultural movement.
If you want to develop a startup culture in your region, you should harness the powers of art, music, architecture, and other mediums to promote entrepreneurial values.
Since startup ecosystems resist hierarchy, startup ecosystem management can be a difficult undertaking. How do you act as a manager if the system, by nature, lacks leadership positions?
You act as a prominent network node. This can be as simple as making introductions, and it can be as complex as organizing events or speaking at ecosystem gatherings. During the 1960’s countercultural movement, which also resisted hierarchy, leaders were well-connected and vocal people, such as authors and musicians. They organized and keynoted events to make statements and build relationships. Examples include Ken Kesey, Bob Dylan, and Timothy Leary. While these people lacked formal positions of power, they spread ideas, expanded perspectives, and formed networks.
In the 1960’s counterculture, leaders introduced new forms of art, ideas, and mind expansion. Similar to rocks dropping into a pond, these intellectual stimulants created ripple effects that combined to create a counterculture.
If you want to lead a startup revolution, you should introduce innovative tools to your regional ecosystem. By introducing tools, you generate ripple effects and create credibility for yourself as a progressive originator of growth. Startup Commons’ Business Plan Tool and Ecosystem Mapping Application are two tools that are designed to solve confusing problems for entrepreneurs and service providers. Would you like to be known as the people’s savior?
Open Communication Lines
As you can tell, multimedia, art, and communications played significant roles in cultivating the 1960’s countercultural movement. In fact, communications may well be the backbone of all revolutions. Technology has given birth to new forms of communication that, when applied to startup ecosystems, will lead to an economic development digital transformation.
Startup ecosystems are decentralized and dynamic, so they require different policy approaches than traditional economic development. Although governments do not typically promote countercultural revolutions, enabling startup revolutions are often in smart governments’ best interests because they can lead to digitized economic development and data-driven innovation. How can governments help promote entrepreneurship and startup culture?
One small step that smart governments and their partners can take is opening communication lines for ecosystem actors. By providing proper digital infrastructure, governments and their partners have the ability to rapidly accelerate cultural change. This can be accomplished by introducing Startup Commons’ Startup Ecosystem Portal to your ecosystem.
Now, apply what you have learned, engineer a countercultural movement, and lead your region's startup revolution!
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