UNDERSTAND | October 5, 2017

GEN Announces Finalists for the Startup Nations Award for Groundbreaking Policy Thinking

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The Global Entrepreneurship Network announced four finalists for the Startup Nations Award for Groundbreaking Policy Thinking. The award recognizes individuals or organizations for their instrumental analysis, innovative policy approaches or groundbreaking program concepts that significantly expand the frontier of entrepreneurship policy thinking around the world.

The award is one of three Startup Nations Awards that will be presented at the Startup Nations Summit on Tuesday, November 21, in Tallinn, Estonia. The winner will be the third recipient of the Award, which was previously received by Neelie Kroes, former Special Envoy for Startups of The Netherlands, and Hugo Kantis, director of the Entrepreneurship Development Program (PRODEM) in Argentina.

The other two Startup Nations Awards are National Policy Leadership and Local Policy Leadership.

The Selection Committee evaluated nominations based on the following criteria:

  • Level of contribution to unveiling new angles, perspectives or policy areas brought to the entrepreneurship discussion table
  • Extent to which the nominee helped shift public discourse on startups and scale-ups in the public sector
  • Extent to which the nominee’s effort was based on solid research
  • Extent to which it is possible to adopt recommendations in a variety of entrepreneurship ecosystems

This year’s finalists for the Groundbreaking Policy Thinking Award cover a variety of initiatives including in-depth research into what encourages high-impact entrepreneurial ventures to flourish in developing countries, to studying the entrepreneurial mindset and how communities can foster entrepreneurship and economic innovation.

Below are the four finalists for the 2017 Startup Nations Award for Groundbreaking Policy Thinking.

World Bank’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Team

This team at the World Bank, led by Ganesh Rasagam, has endeavored into researching the relatively unexplored factors that promote high-impact entrepreneurial ventures and innovative businesses in developing countries, in an effort to begin to match the level of knowledge that the institution has on SME dynamics across the globe. Given the disproportionate impact of this subset of entrepreneurs on jobs and competitiveness, this team has developed and executed ambitious research projects on areas previously only studies in advanced economies, such as tech ecosystems in cities of emerging countries and the art of promoting high-growth entrepreneurship across developing nations. In the process, the Bank has collected data never available before on policies levers that developing nations can pull to benefit from the impact of growth-oriented entrepreneurship and innovation.

Ramesh Abishek
Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)

Mr. Abishek injected new energy into the Indian government’s investment in building a ‘startup nation’. More precisely, upon taking office, he found new ways to ‘pivot’ the Startup India project by rethinking the scope and depth of engagement with entrepreneurs. Acknowledging the long gestation period for startups, Mr. Abished led the effort to amend the definition of the startup entity. A business is now considered as a startup for up to seven years (from the earlier limit of five years) from the date of its incorporation. This definition extends for up to ten years for biotechnology startup. Additionally, a letter of recommendation from an incubator or industry association is no longer required for startups seeking to access benefits. 

Kelly Shaver
MindCette, Inc.
United States                                              

Prof. Kelly Shaver has devoted his career to the study of the psychological factors that underpin the “entrepreneurial mindset”. Most recently, he was the academic lead for a global research collaboration aimed at building a comprehensive, state-of-the-science measure to assess the entrepreneurial mindset of a given population, grounded in academic theory. This new measurement instrument proposes that that “Mindset” includes narrow personality traits, broad personality dispositions, cognitive processes, and behavioral dispositions rooted in interactions with other people. As such, to be practically useful, a measure of entrepreneurial mindset has to capture meaning that is clear to entrepreneurs, investors and other entrepreneur supporters – as well as to the academics who study them.    

G. Nagesh Rao
Chief Technologist & Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Small Business Administration
United States

Over the last 14 years, Mr. Rao has used his skills as an Engineer, IP-Legal Advisor, and entrepreneur to advise and execute on policy and programs related to innovation, technology development, commercialization, startups, scale-ups, and early stage investing. He is particularly involved with the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, two highly competitive U.S. government funds designed to encourage small businesses to engage in high-growth research and development (R&D) around science and technology commercialization. His nomination is a recognition of his work as intra-preneur who helped bridge the SME sector to technological innovation. In addition to Nagesh's work on SBIR, America's Seed Fund, and spearheading interagency efforts bridging the Government-Industry-University collaborative innovation ecosystem, he oversees the SBA's Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and was a 2016 USA Eisenhower Fellow.

Jessica is a former multimedia journalist with a background in print and online media. At the Global Entrepreneurship Network, she creates daily… About the author

Cristina Fernández focuses on integrating policymakers into startup ecosystems across the world, creating platforms for them to exchange… About the author