Measuring the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
In a recent report by the Kauffman Foundation, authors Dane Stangler and Jordan Bell-Masterson consider how to measure an entrepreneurial ecosystem—and which economic indicators offer the best measure of vibrancy and growth. What you track depends on what you’re trying to achieve, they suggest, and every community must define its own goals. The authors propose four indicators as a foundation to begin measuring entrepreneurial vibrancy:
Density. The most straightforward way to measure density is through the number of new and young companies (under 10 years old) per thousand residents in a city or metro area. But entrepreneurial vibrancy should not just be measured by the number of companies; it should also include all of the people involved in those companies—measuring the share of employment accounted for by new and young companies. In addition, getting an idea of density in terms of specific sectors, such as high-tech, can capture the multiplier effect that high-tech entrepreneurs can exact on non-technology companies.
Fluidity. Entrepreneurial vibrancy means people both coming and going, so the data to track should include flows of in-migration and out-migration, or population flux. It’s also important to measure the pace at which individuals can move from job to job and between organizations, also known as churn. Lastly, the concentration of high-growth firms can indicate whether entrepreneurs are able to allocate resources to more productive uses. Because high growth isn’t always synonymous with high tech, including data sources like the Inc. 5000 list can account for rapidly-growing companies outside of technology.
Connectivity. Examining connectivity with respect to entrepreneurial resources can help in determining the use of different resources and the interactions between organizations. While this area is harder to measure, advances in network analysis allow for some tracking of resource connectivity. Second, tracking connectivity over time through spinoff rates can reveal vibrancy by looking at the extent to which successive waves of new companies are created. A third measure involves “dealmaker” networks—tracking those individuals with valuable social capital who mediate relationships, make connections and facilitate new firm formation.
Diversity. No city or region should be overly reliant on a single firm or industry, so looking at the diversity of specializations through location quotients can reveal vibrancy. Historically, immigrants have a high entrepreneurial propensity, starting businesses at a rate twice that of native-born Americans. Thus, the immigrant share of the population and growth rate over time can be very telling. A final measure is how well an entrepreneurial ecosystem diversifies opportunity, assessed through data on income mobility—the probability of moving up or down the economic ladder between different income quintiles. iBi
Source: “Measuring an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,” The Kauffman Foundation Research Series on City, Metro, and Regional Entrepreneurship, March 2015. Read the full report at kauffman.org.
Chicago attracted more than 50 million visitors in 2014—a new record for the Windy City. With over 48.5 million domestic visitors, the city surpassed New York City by more than four million, though it still trails other U.S. cities in attracting international tourists. New marketing efforts this summer through a $2.2 million tourism campaign called Chicago Epic will attempt to set a new record in 2015.
When a company appoints one woman to a top-tier job, the chances of a second woman landing an elite position at the same firm drop substantially, according to a new study by researchers at the Robert H. Smith School of Business and Columbia Business School. The researchers employed mathematical simulations to study the distribution of top female executives across 1,500 companies and found they were often isolated, repelling one another. Hiring just one woman may be enough to attract media attention, satisfy activists and put the company ahead of others, the authors suggest.
Travel Opens Minds
A recent study suggests that the more time spent abroad, the more creative you are. Published in the Academy of Management Journal, the study followed 270 creative directors at high-end fashion houses, documenting the link between their experiences abroad and the creativity of their brands, based on ratings by external audiences. Researchers also found that the more countries the executives lived in, the more creative the lines tended to be—but active cultural engagement is critical. Interestingly, while cross-cultural experiences can strengthen a person’s sense of self, cultural distance—how different a foreign culture is from one’s own—may actually hinder creativity, as that distance may discourage people from immersing themselves in the culture.
One City, OneWater
The City of Peoria has formed an advisory committee to address the issue of comprehensive wet weather management. Members of the OneWater Committee will provide input on how Peoria should tackle needed improvements to stormwater infrastructure, including the feasibility of a dedicated funding stream for stormwater management and the proposed use of green infrastructure, such as pervious pavers and natural plantings, in the city’s combined sewer overflow area.
The committee includes a diverse group of stakeholders, from private property owners and businesses to tax-exempt organizations and environmental advocates. A series of public sessions began in May and will continue on June 17th, July 15th and August 19th, from noon to 1:30pm at ROOM, Floor 4R, 305 SW Water Street in Peoria.
“We named this the OneWater Committee because we are one community with one watershed,” says Mike Rogers, Department of Public Works director. “The combined sewers are a legacy problem from Peoria’s early days. They were built to serve a city just getting started. A century later, continued growth has caused other issues. More parking lots, shopping centers, driveways and other impervious surfaces has increased the amount of runoff that must be managed.”
Peoria experiences 20 to 30 combined overflows each year. Here are some quick facts, provided by the City.
- Combined sewer overflows contribute to elevated bacteria levels and pose health risks to humans. Signs posted along the Peoria riverfront identify the affected areas. When an overflow occurs, the city posts alerts at peoriagov.org/public-works/combined-sewer-overflow-warning.
- As part of the U.S. EPA’s mandate, Peoria must be able to capture 37 million gallons of rain from a single rainstorm—the equivalent of 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- Since 2012, Public Works has received nearly 400 service requests related to stormwater, from street flooding and sewer backups to channel erosion.
- The latest available GIS data show that Peoria has more than 235 million square feet of impervious area—mainly buildings, parking lots and driveways—the equivalent of nearly 4,100 football fields.
- A parking lot sheds 16 times as much stormwater as a meadow. Stormwater runoff is not treated; it picks up chemical compounds and litter from developed land and eventually enters creeks and streams.
- Peoria’s proposal to reduce overflows with green infrastructure will cost about two-thirds that of gray infrastructure (tunnels, tanks, etc.). At least one third of streets, alleys and other public rights-of-way could see green beautification in an eight-square-mile area near the river bluffs.
For more information on the city’s stormwater management plans, stay tuned at peoriagov.org.
Seven Reasons to Bite Your Tongue in the Office
When it comes to behavior in the workplace, it’s important to err on the side of caution when you are establishing your professional image. Diane Gottsman, a national expert on modern manners and etiquette, offers some tips to follow to keep your reputation intact and avoid turmoil with your peers:
- You don’t always need to be “right.” It’s unrealistic to think you will never make a mistake. How you handle it says a great deal about who you are as a professional. Don’t try to shift the blame or go silent, hoping no one will notice. Own your error, come up with a solution and apologize for the inconvenience it may have caused. This shows maturity and tells your boss you can be trusted to handle a difficult situation.
- It’s not necessary to “one-up” your coworker. Friendly competition is healthy and challenges others to step up their pace. However, hostile competition and undermining a coworker in front of others is a bad move. Make every effort to congratulate a peer on a job well done and keep the conversation focused on their success.
- You learn more by listening. Don’t miss a lesson in business because you are too busy talking! If someone takes the time to offer constructive criticism, mentor you, or give you a piece of sound business advice, take advantage of the opportunity to listen and learn. Jot down notes to review later.
- Don’t overcommit. Your coworkers all have great causes they support and would like to get you involved. Prepare what you will say when asked to volunteer for the toy drive, bake sale or volunteer clean-up project. Choose carefully what and who you will support, and say to the rest, “I’m sorry—I’ve already committed to another project, but it sounds like a wonderful outreach.” Be polite but firm.
- Know-it-alls are annoying. If you are good at your job, there is no need to brag about your expert status. Your reputation will speak for itself.
- No one respects a gossip. Being part of the “in-the-know” crowd may seem exciting and fun until you are the subject of conversation. Rest assured, if they are trash-talking someone else with you, they are surely talking about you when you’re not around. Avoid water cooler chitchat and aspire to be the person who can be counted on to keep their mouth shut. At the end of the day, your associates will view you as a trustworthy friend and coworker.
- Keep your language clean. Cursing in the workplace is a habit worth breaking. Even if your boss regularly uses curse words at the office, you can’t go wrong by keeping a civil tongue. If tough situations bring out the profanity, find other ways to cope. iBi
For more etiquette advice, visit dianegottsman.com.