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Analytical frameworks for assessing ICT and agribusiness startup ecosystems: for application in Ghana and Kenya

DFID is exploring the analytical frameworks used to assess the support market system for startup businesses in the ICT and agribusiness sectors. The review of analytical frameworks will help inform a Terms of Reference (ToR) for carrying out startup ecosystem assessments in Ghana and Kenya.

This Helpdesk Request supports this effort by providing an overview of the analytical frameworks, not by outlining the forms of startup support available for these sectors. The frameworks of interest include “M4P and other frameworks and methodologies that have been used to evaluate the ‘ecosystem’ for innovative, technology-oriented startup businesses in a particular country.” The ToR will be for a project assessing the forms of “support available locally for entrepreneurs in both the ICT and agribusiness sectors including university-run programmes, business incubators/accelerators, training providers and financiers (angel investors and VCs).” The analytical frameworks would need to help evaluate existing institutions, gaps in the provision of support and ways in which the ecosystems may best be strengthened.

Given the specifications, the authors of this Helpdesk Request have conducted a literature review of the analytical frameworks employed in such analyses, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The review includes discussions of how M4P frameworks, gender-based frameworks such as Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE), the innovation systems-based Triple Helix framework, the Diamond Model framework and business community methodologies assess startup ecosystems. The report identifies the conceptual foundations of each framework, describes how each framework is operationalised and provides examples of the frameworks’ applications. Particular efforts are made to provide examples of how these frameworks have been applied in studies of developing country startup ecosystems in the information and communications technology (ICT) and agribusiness sectors. Finally, the Annex contains examples of other donor initiatives that analyse startup ecosystems.