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Chapter 2: Entrepreneurship and policy: towards National Systems of Entrepreneurship
Policies to support ‘entrepreneurship’ have evolved over the past 30-odd years, from encouraging the entry and operation of small-and medium-sized firms (SMEs) towards more qualitatively nuanced (in terms of the quality of entrepreneurial entries addressed), refined, and more accurately targeted policies. All of these policies are based, at best, on limited consideration of what ‘entrepreneurship’ actually means as a country-level phenomenon and what the possible implications might be for the design and implementation of policies to support ‘entrepreneurship’. In this chapter, we provide a brief review of how entrepreneurship policies have evolved and what implied conceptions of ‘entrepreneurship’ underlie attempts to measure the phenomenon. We propose that a major shortcoming in policy thinking is the insufficient recognition that entrepreneurship, at a country level, is a systemic phenomenon and should be approached as such. To address this gap, we propose the concept of National Systems of Entrepreneurship that recognizes the systemic character of country-level entrepreneurship, and also, recognizes that although embedded in a country-level context, entrepreneurial processes are fundamentally driven by individuals. We then explain how the GEDI methodology is designed to profile National Systems of Entrepreneurship. Finally, using the United Kingdom as an example, we illustrate how the GEDI method enables policymakers to develop a better understanding of the systemic characteristics of country-level entrepreneurship and identify priority areas for entrepreneurship policy.
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