Chris McCann's Personal Blog

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Dear Governments, how you can help your entrepreneurial ecosystem

with 2 comments

Last week I was invited to Lithuania, with an awesome group of people from Silicon Valley, to speak and attend two events: Silicon Valley Comes to the Baltics and Startup Weekend Lithuania.

Both events were sponsored and organized by Enterprise Lithuania, an organization owned and operated by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania.

I’ll have to admit, being an entrepreneur I have always been skeptical of any government involvement with the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Historically I have always taken the approach that government should leave entrepreneurs alone and let them get back to real work.

However this trip changed my view a bit. It was interesting to see the ecosystem organize themselves around these two big events and bring over 1,500 students and 200 engineers/designers to these two activities combined.

Unlike entrepreneurs, governments have to big opportunity to take the long-term view on the entrepreneurial ecosystem and selectively make a difference across the whole ecosystem.

If you work in government and are reading this, here are a few things I would do & consider if I was in your position (feel free to take these suggestions with a grain of salt):

  • The entrepreneurial ecosystem in your country has to form organically from the bottom up, it can’t be created by force.

  • One simple thing I would try would be to bring together all of the existing entrepreneurial leaders in your country (founders of startups, investors, community organizers, developers, immigrants starting companies, university leaders, etc) and have everyone sit down over a casual dinner with beer. Let these community leaders tell you what is needed and what’s important to them. Don’t talk just listen.

  • Another simple thing I would try would be to bring together all of the existing entrepreneurial leaders in your neighboring countries and do the same as above with your own national entrepreneurial leaders. Again don’t talk, just listen.

  • The last simple thing I would try would be to bring together some successful founders of your national decent who have moved outside your country (to silicon valley or elsewhere) and do the same as above. The same with before: don’t talk, just listen.

One of the most important things I feel a government can do is provide long-term connections to the entrepreneurial ecosystem which already exists in your community.

You yourself will never be able to understand what it’s like to start a company (unless you decide to start one) but you can provide the connections of people who do know what that experience is like to your citizens.

Let the community leaders be the star of the show and let them help you decide how to selectively help the entrepreneurial ecosystem in your country.


Written by Chris McCann

November 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm

2 Responses

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  1. IMO using tax payer money to make connections for a community that is already established and well connected seems inefficient to me. We didn’t need the Dept. of Entrepreneurship to create StartupDigest. We’re already in good hands.


    November 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm

  2. Remarkable! Its in fact remarkable article, I have got much
    clear idea regarding from this post.


    September 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm

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