A Case for Sector-Specific Start-up Ecosystem


Entrepreneurship is neither novel, nor so trendy as to be presented as a universal panacea; however, politicians of all hues have some “policies” to promote high-value entrepreneurship – the left supports subsidies in greenfield areas such as environment-friendly technologies and bio-technology, while the right favours tax breaks. However, all agree that start-ups must be exempt from complying with onerous and stifling Government regulations and institute clusters and incubators where entrepreneurs may cross-fertilize their ideas and develop “holistic” skills. In addition, in a resource-poor country, entrepreneurship promotion should be targeted by sector in order to maximize the possibility of success as well as maximally utilize available resources.In some cases, milestone- based investment approaches can minimize down-side risks to both entrepreneurs and investors. We shall explore ways by which technology- deficit industry can benefit from youth-driven innovation.


Entrepreneurship takes many different forms; one classification scheme might be based on the scale of its benefit to society. Taking inspiration from Klemens von Metternich [1] who said, “It is in general interest that existence guarantee is found, while particular interests are of secondary importance”, organizations that dominate “general interest”(or GI) in telecommunications, computing, transportation, food-processing, health-care and education abound; while some are long-lasting, a few become well-known behemoths.

However, such GI start-ups are rare (amongst the pool of start-ups), perhaps 1 in a 100; even though it would benefit society to fund them, there is no dearth of capital for such ventures, subject only to their being well-conceived.

Other new enterprises take inspiration from a quote ascribed to Charles Darwin [2]: It isn’t the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but those most responsive to change. Such highly nimble (HN) enterprises spawn when there is a promise of new methodology.

However, by its very nature, few last well beyond the change (unless they continually adopt promising new and diverse technologies). Nevertheless, such enterprises are far more numerous than the first, perhaps one in 10. Since such enterprises are the harbingers of change and some may not be immediately visible to private capital, an incubator/ accelerator might greatly benefit such start-ups.

Almost all other start-ups merely echo Martin Luther King’s view [3] that “Capitalism doesn’t permit even economic benefits. A small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and the rest doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works”. Many such new follow-the- leader (FTL) firms adopt newly established business practises in the hope that they will not, for some time, be disrupted (again) by more enterprising firms in the first and second category. Many are, in fact, started by the well-to-do as their older enterprises start to fail (a Hemmingway anti-hero famously said

[4] about failure that “it happened gradually and then suddenly”). Such enterprises may be euphemistically described as being “intellectually conservative” and, not unsurprisingly, can be long-lasting and well- networked. They neither need, nor deserve, public support.

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