- "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
The impact-investing industry will reach its potential in the early years of the twenty-first century if the innovation and stamina of entrepreneurial risk-takers can be coupled with industry building leadership. – Antony Bugg-Levine, Managing Director, CEO at Nonprofit Finance Fund
The entrepreneurial ecosystem is the set of conditions, such as laws, culture, infrastructure and education, which encourage or hinder a new ventures success. If financial capital is a watering can, then the ecosystem is the soil: it’s the conditions of possibility that confront an entrepreneur. Places like Silicon Valley have strong ecosystems, which tend to reinforce themselves and grow stronger. In most of the world, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is weak, creating a huge barrier hindering our ability to turn human potential into impact.
Building a strong ecosystem around impact entrepreneurship at the local level has been a core goal of Agora Partnerships since our founding. We have spent a lot of time and energy tending the soil and building a conversation around the importance of entrepreneurship in Latin America through over 100 local media pieces, creating prizes to celebrate impact entrepreneurship, hosting conferences, and collaborating with other organization to support a culture of impact entrepreneurship and investing in the region. What is needed are strong local institutions and a strong and organized global community focused on ecosystem development.
Here are some of the ways in which we are trying to help build a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem: