Entrepreneurial ecosystem development

Entrepreneurship and the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems are economic drivers for job creation, income generation and contribution to the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

In many developing countries and emerging economies, entrepreneurs face a multitude of challenges: - They often struggle to access the right information, quality skills and human resources, capital and business support services, social connections and professional networks. 

  • Sometimes local cultural and educational systems do not encourage entrepreneurial ambitions, innovation and risk-taking. 
  • National policy may not prioritise the creation of an entrepreneurial climate or the reduction of barriers for entrepreneurs. 
  • Sometimes there is a mismatch between supply and demand for business support services in the ecosystem. 
  • At other times, the pathway to resources, financial or otherwise, may be ambiguous or exclusive. 

There are a plethora of challenges, but just as many opportunities for increased development, resilience and inclusion. 

Entrepreneurship and the SDGs 

In recent years, support for entrepreneurship and the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems has become an international priority for job creation, income generation, economic growth and contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Entrepreneurship or entrepreneurial ecosystems are seen as key contributors to many of the SDGs, including poverty reduction (SDG 1), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), improved health, education, energy, water, and sanitation (SDGs 3, 4, 6, and 7), and much more. Entrepreneurs, the businesses they create and grow, and the ecosystems that support them are widely seen as catalysts for change. Fuelled by private capital, they mobilise a combination of creativity, hard work and the determination needed to tackle the world's most intractable problems. 

Strengthening entrepreneurs by supporting their ecosystems 

The challenges are many, but so are the opportunities for growth, resilience and inclusion. Swisscontact provides direct and indirect support to entrepreneurs and ecosystem support organisations (ESOs) to promote entrepreneurship and innovation and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole. We build the capacity of entrepreneurs directly, through trainers, technical assistance providers, mentors and coaches. We also facilitate capacity building and networking among SEOs to improve support services, knowledge transfer, connectivity, policies and culture within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Swisscontact promotes entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems on three levels: 

  1. Direct support to entrepreneurs through programmes
  2. Indirect support to entrepreneurs through other ecosystem actors such as consultants, coaches, mentors and ESOs (including incubators and accelerators)
  3. Strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem, e.g. by facilitating knowledge exchange, networking, and the collection and dissemination of best practices.