Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation in Focus

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The series captures the experience, innovative approaches and solutions for development of the World Bank Group covering financial sector topics of relevance to both the public and private sectors. The series is comprised of short knowledge notes, policy notes, case studies, lessons learned or a combination therein. This series was formerly known as Finance in Focus.

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    Which Countries are Better Prepared to Compete Globally in the Disruptive Technology Age?: A Rapid, Forward-Looking Analysis of Countries' Share of the Global Private Sector
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-10-23) Mulas, Victor
    This note provides a rapid, forward-looking analysis of countries’ share of the global private sector. By using technology-enabled Unicorns as a leading indicator of the future’s global private sector, which is dominated by a technology platform business model of zero marginal costs and winner-takes-all dynamics, this analysis provides an indication of relative gains and losses of countries in the transition to a technology-driven new economy. The results are tested by comparing the gross domestic product (GDP) growth of countries and their relative position in this transition, which is then measured using a forward-looking approach. This analysis is a first approximation toward a predictive assessment and requires further research. However, the results provided in this note can help policy makers consider and assess new factors to deal with the uncertainties of disruptive technologies in their economies.
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    Supporting Entrepreneurs at the Local Level: The Effect of Accelerators and Mentors on Early-Stage Firms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-09-06) Qian, Kathy ; Mulas, Victor ; Lerner, Matt
    We investigate the association between entrepreneurship support programs and the likelihood of receiving funding for early-stage firms. We use a novel database of 2,887 early-stage technology companies from nine local ecosystems in eight countries that includes data about the founders’ demographic characteristics, educational background, work experience, and entrepreneurial history; we also use data about the start-ups’ history and evolution that follow their progress through support programs and early-stage funding. We isolate two support interventions—acceleration and mentorship—that the literature has found to have a larger effect on a firm’s performance, and we test if such effect is supported from an ecosystem perspective. After accounting for variations in founder characteristics and business environment, we find a positive association between acceleration and mentorship by experienced founders and the likelihood of receiving funding, whereas other support programs, such as incubation, are negatively correlated with funding. We also find that some founders’ characteristics, such as increased education and experience, have a positive correlation with funding.