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Strengthening Entrepreneurship by Understanding Failure and Catalyzing Ecosystems

Nov 17, 2015 to Nov 18, 2015


Join the discussion on Dgroups.

Join Microlinks and the BEAM Exchange on November 17 and 18 for an online discussion. Engage with expert practitioners and researchers on the topic of entrepreneurship. Day one will focus on harnessing failure and day two will be about the ecosystems that support entrepreneurs.

Day 1 (November 17th): Understanding Failure

Failure is an inevitable, and even necessary, part of the entrepreneurial process. Yet there isn’t much space for it in development programming. Discussion around the subject is limited and often revolves around a very basic understanding of success: A project is a success if its beneficiary entrepreneurial ventures are still running at the time of reporting. If not, that means failure for the project and often the end of the road for an entrepreneur. How can we move beyond this paradigm that is so far out of step with entrepreneurial reality? Share your thoughts in the discussion on November 17 and listen to insights from others.

Day 2 (November 18): Looking at the Ecosystem

Next up: Entrepreneurial ecosystems. Which is more effective - direct firm-level support to budding enterprises or focusing on the entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole? In theory, a systemic approach to supporting enterprises has the possibility of helping many more entrepreneurs at one time, allowing them to experience growth over sustained periods. However, in practice a focus on firm-level support has been used successfully by some projects as well. Join us on November 18 to share your thoughts and engage in a debate on these different approaches to enterprise development.

Register Here.


Day 1 (November 17th, 09:00am EST for 24 hours): Understanding Failure

Facilitator(s): Eileen Hoffman and Christy Sisko (Chemonics)

Questions for Consideration:

  • How can we change the entrepreneurship paradigm in development programming to better leverage the real world failure and setbacks which occur during various stages of entrepreneurship?
  • How can development programs better align their success metrics with entrepreneurial metrics?
  • What is the role of failure in the behaviour of  market actors? How can we create the right conditions for failure to be a driver of entrepreneurship?
  • What are effective ways to target high-potential entrepreneurs in strategic sector and certain groups (e.g. women and youth)? How should prior experiences play into this process?

Day 2 (November 18, 09:00am EST for 24 hours): Looking at the Ecosystem

Facilitator: Kate McElligott  (Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs)

Questions for Consideration:

  • What evidence do we have that demonstrates the success of firm-level support vs broader ecosystem actor support and which drives greater impact?
  • Which areas of intervention in the ecosystem have had broad impact? Examples of programs?
  • In trying to drive collective action to change the ecosystem, who should play what role? How do we best go about this?
  • What are effective ways to measure ecosystem change?  Who has an interest in measuring that change? Who would benefit from that analysis?

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Eileen Hoffman
Eileen Hoffman

Eileen HoffmanEileen Hoffman is a senior economic development spec

Eileen Hoffmanialist with 15 years of experience designing, implementing and monitoring programs focused on entrepreneurship, workforce development, private sector competitiveness, local economic development, and household economic strengthening. She has worked in more than 20 countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean with donors and partners including private sector firms, foundations and the US government. She has proven expertise integrating the private sector, the public sector and community members in economic development planning and activities, utilizing participatory approaches that drive local ownership and sustainability. She currently leads Chemonics’ Economic Growth and Trade Practice, providing strategic leadership and technical advice for the design and implementation of programs that focus on entrepreneurship and enterprise development, financial services, business-enabling environments, trade and regulatory reform, and public financial management. 

Christy Sisko
Christy Sisko

Christy SiskoChristy Sisko is a program management and economic deve

Christy Siskolopment specialist with demonstrated experience designing and implementing programs focused on financial services, women’s economic empowerment, leveraging investment, sector competitiveness, entrepreneurship, international trade and public financial management. She has hands-on experience in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Moldova, Nigeria, South Sudan, Vietnam and Thailand. She currently serves as Chemonics’ Economic Growth and Trade Practice Manager overseeing ongoing programs in Chemonics’ economic growth portfolio to streamline technical innovations and share best practices and programmatic successes while leading business development efforts and conducting technical research. Previously she served as a Project Manager in Chemonics’ Afghanistan region, overseeing day-to-day operations and providing technical guidance for one of the largest USAID economic growth programs implemented by Chemonics.

Kate McElligott
Kate McElligott
Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs

Kate McElligottKate McElligott currently serves as the Director

Kate McElligottof Strategic Development at the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) where she is responsible for developing partnerships to fuel the growth of the small and growing business (SGB) sector in emerging markets. Kate joined ANDE with ten years of experience in relationship management, business development, and marketing for global development and social enterprise. She previously served as Senior Manager, Thought Leadership and Strategic Partnerships at Grameen Foundation where she worked for five years garnering resources for economic development, mobile technology, and livelihood programs. Early in her career Kate spent a year volunteering in China as part of the Harvard Kennedy School’s WorldTeach program, and ran several capital campaigns as a consultant for CCS Fundraising. Kate graduated from the American University with an M.A. in Social Enterprise. She earned her bachelor's degree in Political Science from Providence College.