Self-Propelling Ecosystem Development

About the Project

Decision-makers who support entrepreneurs should nurture the growth of self-propelling ecosystems. With support from Argidius Foundation, Endeavor Insight conducted research and stakeholder engagement about achieving this, resulting in a set of guides and tools for ecosystem actors.

This project led to the distillation of six principles for self-propelling ecosystem development. These principles draw on Endeavor Insight’s body of research studying entrepreneurial ecosystems worldwide, including interviews with hundreds of entrepreneurs and dozens of experts such as investors, executives of support programs, and program officers at significant funding organizations.

Six Principles for Self-Propelling Ecosystems

The primary guide presents key actions that decision-makers can take to foster the growth of self-propelling local ecosystems. The six principles presented are:

  1. Focus on scale and local capacities.
  2. Align action with goals.
  3. Increase support for evidence-based solutions.
  4. Tailor support for innovation.
  5. Encourage founder reinvestment.
  6. Enable self-propelling local development.

These principles encompass the services support organizations can provide when supporting entrepreneurs and emphasize the importance of founders paying it forward to help other entrepreneurs. This approach enables each company’s success to have a lasting impact on its ecosystem.

The “Self Propelling Ecosystem Development” guide includes a rubric that decision-makers can use to assess the maturity of local venture ecosystems. The guide also provides case studies of influential organizations and companies that have exemplified the six principles in their work.

Additional Resources for Key Stakeholders

In addition to the primary guide, Endeavor Insight also developed guides for three key audiences: entrepreneurs, support organizations, and donors/philanthropies. These tailored resources include tools that are intended to help those stakeholders put the self-propelling ecosystem principles into practice.

The “Stakeholder Guide for Entrepreneurs” includes founder testimonials on reinvestment and a set of reflection questions for entrepreneurs to assess the potential value of a support program before joining it.

Download Guide for Entrepreneurs

The “Stakeholder Guide for Support Organizations” includes a self-diagnostic tool for support program managers to assess how well their program offerings reflect the self-propelling ecosystem principles.

Download Guide for Support Organizations

The “Stakeholder Guide for Donors and Philanthropies” includes a detailed action plan for those who aim to support nascent ecosystems — where there may not be many existing entrepreneurial successes to build on — by laying the groundwork for self-propelling growth.

Download Guide for Donors and Philanthropies