Babson's Dan Isenberg presented workshops and panel discussions on entrepreneurship at G20 World Economic Forum meetings in Davos and Ethiopia.

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Dr. Daniel Isenberg, Founding Executive Director of Babson Global’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, and Professor of Management Practice at Babson Global, has recently had opportunities to present the principles and methodologies of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project (BEEP).

Starting with the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos (January) and Ethiopia (May), Dr. Isenberg ran workshops and panel discussions on “Fostering Entrepreneurship,” “Talent Mobility,” and “Education, Entrepreneurship, and Employment.” Participants included Reeta Roy, CEO of Master Card Foundation, Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University, Trevor Manuel, Minister of the Planning Commission for South Africa, Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Niklas Zennstrom, Founder of Skype, Jim Breyer, General Partner of Accel Partners, and James Caan, producer of Dragon’s Den.
“There were many takeaways for me personally,” commented Babson Global Professor of Management Practice Isenberg, “but the big crystallizations in my thinking were two. One was how intimately connected employability, on the one hand, and ability to employ, on the other hand, are. Entrepreneurship requires a rich talent pool, otherwise it is stunted. That sounds obvious in retrospect, but entrepreneurs themselves don’t stress this enough, and instead focus almost exclusively on attracting money instead of cultivating talent. Talent is a major obstacle in all accelerating economies, and Africa is no exception. We need to emphasize this more in entrepreneurship education as well.”
“The second major takeaway, this one from Davos, was how entrepreneurs and venture capitalists almost universally, including in the US, view the ecosystem as hostile to entrepreneurship, almost the enemy. The biggest wish of the best and most ambitious entrepreneurs is not for the environment to help them, but to simply get out of the way. I am sure this viewpoint is suboptimal, but the consensus around this surprised me. On reflection, I can certainly understand the survival value of the attitude.”
At the G20’s Youth Entrepreneurship Summit in Mexico City on June 5, Dr. Isenberg gave the G20 YES keynote presentation, “What is Entrepreneurship?” for an audience of 400 delegates from 20 countries. The presentation presented an alternative description of entrepreneurship that focuses on high value creation rather than exclusively equating entrepreneurship with innovation, youth, or startups. The presentation was followed by a group discussion with Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, at which entrepreneurship recommendations were presented to President Calderon to propose to the G20 council later this month.
According to Gregoire Sentilhes, Chairman of the G20 Youth Entrepreneurship Alliance and CEO of NextStage, “At last year’s 2011 G20 YES in France Dan’s presentation was one of the most highly appreciated, alongside those of Shai Agassi and Muhammad Yunus. In Mexico City this year, the presentation “What is Entrepreneurship?” was inspiring , stimulating and provocative. Using great cases such as Tough Mudders, SABIS, Bon’App, and Cinemex, perhaps the most inspiring aspect for the delegates was Dan’s comments on how successful entrepreneurs generate extraordinary value not only for their shareholders, but for their social, cultural and economic environments as well.”
The Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project (BEEP) is part of Babson Global, the global action research subsidiary of Babson College, the world leader in entrepreneurship education.  BEEP creates projects around the world to foster substantially greater levels of entrepreneurship in specific regions. For more information contact Dr. Isenberg at More information can be found at and

By Nancy Sullivan, | 06/08/2012 09:30