How can we create jobs? Inclusive growth? Dynamic, competitive economies?
For many years, private sector development efforts in developing economies have focused on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Only a small percentage of businesses survive beyond their first few years, however, and an even smaller percentage of these businesses grow beyond a few employees.
Yet those businesses that survive and grow can have tremendous impact.
New research from the United States and Europe shows that small, fast-growing businesses account for nearly half of all job creation. We call the people who lead these high‐growth businesses growth entrepreneurs.
Despite an increasing amount of research on growth entrepreneurship in developed countries, relatively little is known about these entrepreneurs and the businesses they manage in developing countries. Therefore, in 2015, infoDev launched an 18-month study to better understand the dynamics of high-growth firms:
- How common is growth entrepreneurship in developing countries? What is its impact?
- What obstacles prevent high-growth businesses from launching and growing?
- What policies are used to promote growth entrepreneurship around the world? How can these policies be adapted for developing countries?
A literature review, published in September 2016 by infoDev and the World Bank Group, provides an overview of existing research on growth entrepreneurs. It introduces findings related to the role of entrepreneurial ecosystems, levels of education and work experience among entrepreneurs, the average size of fast-growing firms, and differing public policy approaches.
Global Entrepreneurship Week
As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2015, infoDev and the World Bank Group hosted a series of events to share the latest research related to growth entrepreneurs in developing countries.
In the United States, many perceive entrepreneurs as changing societies, creating jobs, and boosting economic development. In many developing economies, however, entrepreneurship is not celebrated. The World Bank Group, Brookings Institution, and Global Entrepreneurship Research Network invited panelists to discuss growth entrepreneurship in the developing country context.
Panelists from the World Bank Group, Accion, and Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs shared new approaches for supporting the growth of businesses in developing countries, including incubation, acceleration, and innovative financing schemes. Marlon Parker, social entrepreneur and founder of Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs), provided opening remarks.
Donors and Partners
The Growth Entrepreneurship Flagship Study is sponsored by the World Bank Group's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit under the leadership of Ganesh Rasagam.
This inititative is made possible through the support of the governments of Norway, Sweden, and Finland.