The Importance of Startup Incubators in Emerging Markets

Entrepreneurship, at different scales, always has an impact on individuals and communities as it brings independence and prosperity.  Entrepreneurship in developing markets grows economies and can be a powerful social equalizer.

To break down barriers, it is imperative to further promote business creation in such nations on a wider scale and as quickly as possible, especially as emerging countries are continuing to lose their brightest minds who opt to move to more prosper regions of the world; a brain drain that further accentuates economic disparities between countries.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), this exodus affects African countries the hardest, since Africa has already lost one third of its human capital and is bleeding its skilled personnel at the rate 20,000 per year. These are highly educated university graduates: doctors, university lecturers, engineers and other professionals who are leaving the continent each year, for good!

Emerging countries desperately need to keep these skilled executives, managers and entrepreneurs. Many developing countries have understood this and have worked on trying to ease the problem by simplifying their company creation processes, and launching business accelerators and incubators. These initiatives remain scarce and are usually backed by the government or NGOs who tend to be the driving force.

NGOs tend to focus on projects that have local immediate impacts on disadvantaged communities. In a few cases, business coaches have launched private mentorship outfits, sometimes with the backing of government initiatives, but success stories are scarce and so often the impact is limited to the mentor having a successful mentorship business.

Developed nations, through regional investment and empowerment authorities, use the same acceleration models to promote projects that help employment and have an impact on local economies, but the most powerful effects, those felt worldwide, have always been initiated by the creation of startups that were backed by private funds through mechanisms like private incubators, accelerators, angel investors and venture capitalists.

Still, wide impact entrepreneurship isn’t exclusive to Silicon Valley, New York, Paris, London or Tokyo, and it is not always about using the latest technology! Simple solutions, developed by entrepreneurs in developing countries, can similarly have impacts on worldwide audiences.

Unfortunately “world reaching” ventures from emerging markets are rare, as entrepreneurs in these countries face major obstacles to building successful startups due to the local culture, the scarcity of experienced mentors and very inadequate funding. In fact the 2015 Africa Competitiveness Report details the most problematic problems for doing business in Africa. They are in order of importance: access to financing, corruption, lacking infrastructure, bureaucracy, and an inadequate workforce

Many entrepreneurs, in developing countries, simply do not trust themselves to compete on the international scene and stick to creating solutions that insure their local prosperity rather than embrace worldwide aspirations by building perhaps farther-reaching solutions, which may fail! It does not help that failure is often regarded as a form of inadequacy on the part of the entrepreneur, which further burdens, those that go through such stigma.

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Article by Mounir Elabridi | The Asian Entrepreneur | Image: The Asian Entrepreneur | Copyright © The Asian Entrepreneur Media Group | All rights reserved.


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