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Researching the Success Factors of Digital Ecosystems.

To support the Make Your Mark initiative and set the context for the program, VEON is commissioning  research into the digital entrepreneurial environment.

Understanding the context for digital entrepreneurism

In 2014, we published research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the international digital ecosystem and the potential role for mobile operators. The report, ‘Enabling Entrepreneurs in a Mobile World’, recommended three key steps for mobile operators to better support young tech entrepreneurs:

a) Shifting their corporate culture and mindset to adapt to the world of digital entrepreneurs

b) Gaining a more detailed understanding of the needs of digital entrepreneurs, to identify the practical support required

c) Creating the right environment for innovation to flourish by entering into creative partnerships with other players in the ‘ecosystem’.

We are working on all three of these elements. On a), our commercial strategy is already making us far more digitally oriented, and this will bring greater engagement with start-ups. For b), we have conducted targeted research in 4 markets: Algeria, Russia, Ukraine and Georgia. And for c), this MYM section highlights how we are building partnerships with a variety of players from the GSMA, to universities such as LUMS, to the Georgian Association of Young Financiers and Businessmen.

Reports on other markets will be published during 2016.



Digital Entrepreneur Ecosystem Research (‘DEEP’)

During the year, we commissioned detailed research, looking at the digital start-up scenes in Russia, Ukraine and Algeria. As part of the study, AT Kearney interviewed over 20 VEON senior managers across the markets and at HQ, and over 35 market stakeholders, including successful entrepreneurs, universities and business schools, investors, accelerators, ICT corporations and government representatives. In addition, nearly 100 start-ups responded to an online survey.

The research analyzed each ‘ecosystem’ across a number of factors, including internet and smartphone penetration, ICT talent, regulation, customer base, education, investment market and other related factors. The market position in relation to start-ups was then examined to understand how these factors were supporting or constraining growth of digital entrepreneurism.

There was significant agreement among stakeholders that there was a strong role for mobile operators to play in supporting the ecosystem. It identified a number of specific areas, varying in emphasis from market to market, where mobile operators could make a valuable intervention, including supporting the provision of business-focused education for talented IT professionals with limited business experience, developing competitions, supporting accelerators and incubators, and perhaps most importantly, helping start-ups commercialize their offerings at scale. The first of the resulting white papers, on Russia, is available on our website.

MYM research in Georgia

Beeline Georgia, and the country’s Association of Young Financiers and Businessmen, have launched a project which addresses challenges faced by the country’s entrepreneurs. The aim of the project is to stimulate the growth of small businesses, which represent the most significant segment of the Georgian economy as the self-employed make up 60% of the country’s employed population. The research aims to identify the most pressing issues facing Georgia’s self-employed, as identified by Beeline’s recent study, including the availability of information on government initiatives and access to partners and sponsors.

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