Entrepreneurship is a key driver of prosperity and growth across the world. However, turning new economic opportunities into sustainable success can be an uphill battle - particularly in the developing world. Abraham's paper explores what conditions allow entrepreneurs to flourish and how entrepreneurial solutions to socio-economic problems in developing countries can be better promoted. 

"Societies which make it less costly to fail are more likely to produce leaders and entrepreneurs than societies with a high cost of failure, looking for the perfect leader" 

Reuben Abraham is Partner and Head of Urbanization at the IDFC Foundation, Mumbai.


The relationship between entrepreneurship and economic development has not been well explored. While it is obvious to some, many regard entrepreneurship as important without necessarily considering why it is important, and as such don’t have a cogent idea of how and why it works. What is in the nature of entrepreneurship that is transformational and disruptive? Is everyone capable of becoming an entrepreneur, or is it a specialised skill? What are the rule systems that enable entrepreneurship? And can disruptive entrepreneurship survive absent of these rules? Why is there a trend towards magic bullet entrepreneurial solutions to economic development puzzles? Over the last six years, my team and I have conducted experiments in India combining research and practice, building out entrepreneurial solutions to socio-economic problems. Based on this experience of learning by doing, I address some of these aforementioned questions in this paper.

Reuben Abraham, Author

The paper was launched at the Legatum Institute event on 25 November 2013—details here.