Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Emerging Markets: Brazil and Mexico 2021

Evaluate and Advance Economic Development Initiatives

explores how an emerging country can spur entrepreneurship and innovation.

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Emerging Markets digs deep into the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems in two countries – Brazil and Mexico. As students gain an understanding of each country's historical, cultural and economic context, they can then better understand and evaluate its current strategies in developing entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Course Description

It seems that every country and major city in the world is trying to become the next Silicon Valley. New York has coined the phrase ‘Silicon Alley’, Austin has ‘Silicon Hills’ and then globally there is Ireland’s ‘Silicon Docks’ and the ‘Silicon Wadi’ in Israel. Having ‘Silicon’ in the name, however, does not mean a region can recreate the unique history that allowed for the creation of Silicon Valley. So the question is – how can an emerging country spur entrepreneurship and innovation?


To develop a growth strategy for a single business entity, one should start by understanding the resources and capabilities of that business. Internal culture as well as external factors such as the economic and political environment will also shape the growth strategy for the business entity. Are emerging ecosystems applying a similar methodology? Or are they trying to replicate a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem from another part of the world? Our hypothesis is that a deep understanding of the history, culture, political and economic climate and current resources of a country/region is necessary in order to develop a strategy to nurture and accelerate entrepreneurial activity.


For this GIM class, we will focus on the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystems in Mexico and Brazil. We want you to understand the historical, cultural and economic context of these countries in order to understand and evaluate their current strategies to develop their entrepreneurial ecosystems. We will be focusing on the ecosystems of both Mexico City and Sao Paulo as they are the two top tech centers in Latin America.


Entrepreneurial ecosystems are composed of a variety of stakeholders - universities, accelerators, incubators, venture capital firms, private equity firms, banks/fintechs, family businesses, corporate innovators, etc. Students will be organized in teams that will research one of these stakeholders throughout the course.


During the first part of the course the focus will be on providing a foundation of knowledge on 1) launching and growing ventures, 2) how entrepreneurial ecosystems evolve and are evaluated and 3) the unique history, economic, political and cultural context of Mexico and Brazil. During the second half of the course, students will be expected to reach out to alumni and other in-country contacts for virtual interviews with their stakeholders. At the end of the course, students will aggregate, synthesize and analyze insights from all stakeholder teams to evaluate the issues, successes and opportunities for the entrepreneurial ecosystems in each country. .


It is our hope that this GIM course gives you greater understanding on how to evaluate and advance economic development initiatives in your city and country in the future.



Last Updated: 10/26/2020

Faculty Bio

Faculty Bio

Linda Darragh's professional and volunteer experience has focused on enhancing entrepreneurship in Chicago for three decades. Two key areas of interest have been early stage financing and teaching.

As the Larry Levy executive director of the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, Ms. Darragh oversees one of four strategic initiatives at Kellogg. In this capacity, Darragh has updated and enhanced the curriculum, expanded the faculty and increased engagement opportunities for students and alumni. Darragh also teaches New Venture Development, which helps launch student businesses, as well as the Growth Strategy Practicum (capstone) course for the Executive MBA program.

As vice president of the Women's Business Development Center, she piloted innovative lending programs that created collaborations with foundations, banks and all levels of government. Ms. Darragh also organized Springboard: Mid-West, a nationally recognized investor forum for women entrepreneurs, in 2001 and 2003. The forums raised more than $85 million for participants. Another outcome of Springboard was the establishment of the Ceres Venture Fund in which she is an investor.

In 1999, Ms. Darragh started as an adjunct professor at Kellogg where she taught 'Women and Entrepreneurship' and then '462: Entrepreneurship and New Venture Formation'. She later became assistant director of entrepreneurship.

In 2006, Ms. Darragh became the director of entrepreneurial programs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Ms. Darragh's accomplishments included organizing global alumni entrepreneurship immersion trips to India and China, launching the Global New Venture Challenge, leading the Exploring Entrepreneurship Series that culminated in annual conferences that highlighted local innovation in the areas of financial trading, education and food. She taught the New Venture Lab and Social Entrepreneurship Lab courses and was also a coach for the New Venture Challenge and the Social Venture Challenge.

Most recently, Ms. Darragh has focused her efforts on early stage financing in the realm of for-profit social ventures — impact investing. In collaboration with Professor Jamie Jones of Kellogg, they organized an 'Impact Investing' conference in 2011 and then launched Impact Engine, an accelerator for for-profit social ventures.

Ms. Darragh is an active member of the Chicago entrepreneurial community. She has been a long-time board member of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center/1871.

In her free time, Ms. Darragh will be on the golf course, tennis or paddle tennis court, skiing or in her garden.

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