Orange Corners learns: understanding startup ecosystems with Startup Genome

Orange Corners is not just about training young entrepreneurs, but also about supporting capacity building among local entrepreneurial support organisations. To get a deeper understanding of how startup ecosystems work, our local implementing partners and their HQ colleagues are currently taking a number of workshops with world-leading ecosystem development organisation Startup Genome. Together with Ecosystem Research and Strategy Manager Ethan Webster we delve into best practices, analysis models and our own role in the ecosystem.

Main focus of the workshops? The critical building blocks that make up a startup ecosystem, and how data-based approaches can instigate meaningful improvements for the entrepreneurial community. The first workshop (april 2024) focused on the differences between startups and SMEs and introduced Startup Genome’s proprietary lifecycle and success factor models. Ethan introduced us to key concepts related to ecosystem development, objective benchmarking and how to gauge the status of the various players present in the ecosystem. 

The second workshop, held earlier this week, built further on these concepts to allow the Orange Corners hubs to have a look at how Startup Genome mobilises data and research to assess, understand and benchmark ecosystems. The ultimate goal? To give impactful recommendations to policymakers on which interventions would be the most effective given the current strengths and weaknesses of the startup community. Ethan discussed examples, success cases and pitfalls from all corners of the globe to inspire our hubs to not only approach the methodology as a research tool, but also as a basis for advocacy on the changes their communities need to further develop and assist entrepreneurs along their journeys.

The workshop series will be capped off with an in-person training during the Orange Corners Connect Days, where we will work on moving from theory into practice. During this session hubs will have the chance to take the topics presented and apply them to their own situations in their respective ecosystems and brainstorm on what sorts of initiatives they feel will be both realistic and impactful.

Orange Corners ecosystems evaluated

What are Ethan’s initial thoughts on the ecosystems Orange Corners is active in? Ethan: “To generalise a bit, the majority of Orange Corners hubs are located in very early-stage/nascent ecosystems (for example, Mozambique, Angola, Mali, Sudan). There are a few notable later-stage ecosystems as well however, such as Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa. I can think of a few ‘challenger’ ecosystems as well, such as Algeria, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. However, I’d say according to Startup Genome methodology, all these ecosystems with the exception of South Africa, Nigeria and maybe Egypt would still be classified as Phase 1 (activation stage) ecosystems. The nuances of exactly who’s growing the quickest/is the most promising would require a bit more data work and historical performance analysis though!” 

About Startup Genome

Startup Genome is the world-leading innovation ecosystem development organisation, having worked with more than 160 economic and innovation ministries and public/private agencies in over 55 countries. Startup Genome works to catalyse startup success and ecosystem growth and ensure that all cities and countries capture their fair share of the new economy. Their evidence-based ecosystem research, advisory, and scaleup programmes are rooted in global experience with the world’s largest AI-curated startup dataset and proprietary instruments developed from over a decade of primary research.

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