Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship: The role of GEM
The first entrepreneurial event on campus this year was held in Balkanski Auditorium on Thursday, Sep. 24. The event was organized by StartUp@Blagoevgrad and focused on the role of entrepreneurship for building national competitiveness, and the Global Entrepreneurial Monitor (GEM) initiative. The guests of the lecture were Iskren Krusteff and Mira Krusteff from GEM organization in Bulgaria, as well as Prof. Veneta Andonova.
Prof. Andonova presented the broad framework of the importance of competitiveness for the business development. Basing her introduction on Michael Porter’s four different forces, Andonova emphasized that a business is an ecosystem which, as every ecosystem, comprises of different entities. Therefore, in order to be ready for development, people should not only know how much effort they are ready to put in so that they can develop their skills, but also how they behave as consumers so that they can become part of the potential of a more creative environment.
Andonova went on introducing the audience to three different models of the economic development. The first one is a factor-driven stage, built on endowment, natural resources and labor. The second stage is the investment-driven one where people get some advantage based on a scale. During this stage two main types of entrepreneurs begin to shape: necessity-driven and opportunity-driven. The last stage is the innovation-driven stage, which is connected to ideas and innovation. She explained that the most difficult process is the transition from one stage to the other.
After Prof. Andonova’s introduction, Iskren and Mira Krusteff took the word. They talked about GEM and how it can help Bulgarian entrepreneurs to succeed. GEM analyses entrepreneurial ecosystems and offers solutions and recommendations for their development. The purpose of GEM is to expand the elements, forming the economic ecosystem in a balanced and scalable way. Its main goal is to raise awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship. GEM started as a joint project between Babson College (U.S.) and London Business School (U.K.) and began presenting global analysis in 1999. Iskren Krusteff suggested how important is the ecosystem for the country and introduced the three major objectives of GEM, which are “to measure differences in the level of entrepreneurial activity between countries, to uncover factors leading to appropriate levels of entrepreneurship, and to suggest policies that may enhance the national level of entrepreneurial activity.”
GEM helps businesses by measuring nine following framework conditions: culture and social norms, government programs, legal and commercial infrastructure, government policy, physical infrastructure, entrepreneurship education, market openness, research and development transfer, and entrepreneurial finance. GEM is currently active in over 85 economies. There are over 500 specialists in the sphere of entrepreneurial research collecting high-quality data who implement the GEM survey in their economies, allowing reliable international comparison to be made.
A Q&A followed the overview of GEM. Artem Eremin, a fourth-year student at AUBG, asked about the main barriers to establish GEM in some countries. Mira Krusteff answered that in order to do that “you need a group of people to take on the opportunity to become GEM team.” Another question was asked by AUBG graduate Teodor Dimitrov. He asked about Bulgaria’s position within the stages of economic development. Iskren Krusteff said that until this year no one knew the stage Bulgaria was at; however, it is likely to be at the efficiency-driven stage.
Iskren Krusteff closed the event by leaving a message to the students, “Build sustainable companies. Be the inspiration for others.”