Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies
The path for entrepreneurs to grow their companies outside of well-developed entrepreneurial ecosystems like Silicon Valley is challenging. Most markets around the world do not look like Silicon Valley, and they never will. But there are other models to support new businesses. In transitioning markets (where entrepreneurs do not have much access to private sector financing), government officials, donors, and business leaders are experimenting with creative approaches to support the growth of entrepreneurs. Northeast Ohio, whose largest city is Cleveland, is one such community. During our time together in this course, we will be exploring some of these innovative approaches. A massive intervention of government and donor resources in Northeast Ohio has been in place for over ten years. In that time, Northeast Ohio has experienced success (including job creation and follow-on funding) with alternative methods of financing startups, but it has not been easy. Yes, some progress has been made, but whether or not they've hit on ultimate success has yet to be determined. A dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem takes many years, even decades, to develop. Government officials and donors typically are looking for shorter term success with their support programs which makes long-term support for entrepreneurship challenging. During this course, we will hear from entrepreneurs who have launched products and services ranging from medical devices to LED lights to whiskey. You will learn how these entrepreneurs engaged with resources made available to them through a variety of programs and intermediary organizations. We have chosen to talk with many business people that are still in the process of developing their companies and whose ultimate success or failure is still to be determined. In addition to learning about Cleveland's attempts to support entrepreneurship, you will also be hearing in the lectures from leaders in selected markets around the world including Greece, Vietnam, Tunisia, Argentina, Rwanda and China about how they are working to support the growth of start-up companies. One of our goals is to learn from you how different communities around the world are approaching implementing strategies and methods to support businesses. Taking what we've learned from our examples in class, I will ask you to reflect on how to best grow entrepreneurship where you live. I am excited to use this global platform to create a dialogue where information flows in multiple directions. Most MOOCs rebroadcast professors’ lectures, but this course will be different. Don’t expect to see me standing in front of the camera, talking and lecturing every module. Instead, the lectures will be relatively short in length and will have more of the feel of an engaging documentary than a static classroom setting.