Wales has been selected as one of seven regions across the globe to take part in MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Regional Entrepreneurial Acceleration Programme (REAP). The aim of this initiative is for regions to improve their innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE). A panel of Welsh stakeholders representing entrepreneurs, universities, risk capital, the private sector and government act as regional champions to share best practice with stakeholders from other regions. It is hoped that the panels work to gain a deeper understanding of their region’s IDE ecosystem, and develop agendas for improvement while sharing best practice with panels from the other regions.
IDE is being regarded with increasing importance by leading economic bodies, with the World Economic Forum stating that IDE is a way in which to bridge the competitiveness gap within Europe and improve economic growth amidst continued uncertainty within the financial system in the Eurozone. IDE growth is dependent on a region’s innovation capacity (iCap) and entrepreneurship capacity (eCap), which mutually reinforce the ability of a region or country’s IDE ecosystem. Building on our existing links with MIT, Miller Research was commissioned by the Welsh Government to undertake a baseline analysis of Wales’ entrepreneurship and innovation capacity for the regional champions.
Over several weeks we worked identifying data indicators according the themes of People, Funding, Infrastructure, Demand, Policy Environment, and Culture & Community relating to both innovation and entrepreneurship. After reviewing an extensive number of data sources, we had gathered over 100 indicators, all of which provided data for Wales and for global regional comparisons.
With these sets of data we created ranking systems by which to compare Wales’ position. The research will be used by the Welsh Regional Panel to present to the other regions. The REAP initiative will run for two years, during which the regional teams will visit MIT in Boston to present their baseline reports of their area’s IDE ecosystem, and next year they will visit Tokyo to further develop and share areas of best practice.
More information about Wales’ participation in MIT REAP can be found here: http://reap.mit.edu/cohort/wales-united-kingdom/