In many developing countries and emerging economies, entrepreneurs face a range of challenges:
- They often struggle to access to the right information, skills, human resources, capital, business support services, and social and business connections.
- Local culture and education systems may not support entrepreneurial ambitions, innovation, and risk-taking.
- National policy might not prioritize incentive-creation or barrier-reduction for entrepreneurs.
- Sometimes there is a mismatch between the supply and demand of entrepreneurial support services in the ecosystem.
- Other times the path to access financial and non-financial resources may be unclear or exclusive.
The challenges are myriad, but so are the opportunities for greater growth, resilience, and inclusion.
Entrepreneurship and the SDGs
In recent years, support for entrepreneurship and development of entrepreneurial ecosystems have moved on top of the international agenda for job creation, income generation, economic growth, and contribution to the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Entrepreneurship or entrepreneurial ecosystems are considered key contributors to many SDGs, including poverty alleviation (SDG 1), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), improved health, education, energy, and WASH (SDGs 3, 4, 6, & 7), and beyond.
Entrepreneurs, the businesses they build and scale, and the ecosystems that support them are widely understood as catalytic change agents. Fueled by private capital, they leverage a combination of creativity, hard work, and determination to tackle the world’s most tenacious problems.
Strengthening entrepreneurs by supporting their ecosystem
Swisscontact provides direct and indirect support to entrepreneurs and ecosystem support organizations (ESOs) to bolster entrepreneurship and innovation and strengthen the overall ecosystem. We build the capacity of entrepreneurs directly through trainers, technical assistance providers, mentors, and coaches. We also facilitate capacity building for and networking between ESOs to improve support services, knowledge transfer, connectivity, policy, and culture within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Swisscontact promotes entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems at three levels:
- direct support for entrepreneurs through programming,
- indirect support for entrepreneurs through other ecosystem actors such as consultants, coaches, mentors, and ESOs such as incubators and accelerators, and
- entrepreneurial ecosystem strengthening such as the facilitation of knowledge exchange, networks, and harvest and dissemination of best practices.