Programa de Desarrollo Emprendedor

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Latin America: the role of policies. International Research and PolicyRoundtable (KauffmanFoundation), Liverpool, UK.

Over the last few years, the importance of entrepreneurship policies in Latin America has grown substantially. Particularly, based on successful international experiences, the concept of the entrepreneurial ecosystem has emerged as a benchmark for designing and implementing entrepreneurship policies in the region, especially in the case of innovative and dynamic ventures. However, knowledge of this topic in the region is limited and is usually based on best practice reports, policy briefs, and position papers published by international institutions. This paper tries to fill this gap by analyzing a number of national policies in five Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay). The main research questions guiding this paper are the following: (a) what are the main trends observed in Latin American innovative/dynamic entrepreneurship policies during the last decade?; (b) what is the role that these policies (may) have played on the creation and sustainability of entrepreneurial ecosystems?; and (c) what are the main challenges that policies and institutions may face in order to strengthen these entrepreneurial ecosystems in the region? Overall, the results of this paper show that despite the great advances that have been made in recent years, these ecosystems are still underdeveloped. Certain critical links are missing and some key actors are still absent. In particular, the availability of continuous deal flows and the link between new innovative/dynamic ventures and investors are critical aspects that need to be developed. Finally, with regard to the role of national policies, the cases studied reveal that governments have been active players in the creation of VC supply. Likewise, they have played a leading role in the creation and strengthening of such institutional settings, occupying mainly a “secondfloor” role. Although this decentralized structure has facilitated the establishment of such ecosystems, there are currently clear challenges to their sustainability, namely in terms of the incentives for influencing institutions’ behaviour and their processes of upgrading capabilities. Other more general issues in which governments have a critical role to play include the regulatory environment, tax reforms, and the promotion of entrepreneurship culture.

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