Pages Navigation Menu

The Scale Up Declaration

Click here to sign the Scale Up Declaration!

By Daniel Isenberg*, Fadi Ghandour**, Gregoire Sentilhes***,  Sherry Coutu****, Calestous Juma*****, Linda Rottenberg and Colleagues******

September 4, 2014

In upcoming November’s Global Entrepreneurship Week millions of people in 140 countries will participate in over 10,000 events to celebrate entrepreneurial startups. We believe that entrepreneurial scale ups are an essential yet underemphasized part of this crucial global conversation. Entrepreneurial scale ups are companies – young or old – which are run and owned by growth-driven business owners and leaders which at any stage of their lives may launch a new growth trajectory. Scaling up, which by definition reflects new value creation in the world’s marketplaces are the guiding North Star in this dialog because, as research has shown in many countries, scaling up companies are the drivers of both economic and social prosperity. Furthermore, we also know that these value creating companies may be startups, family businesses, spinoffs, acquisitions, and buyouts, in any industry, service, or business sector.

To accelerate and highlight the scale up conversation, with a group of entrepreneurship influencers, we have developed this Scale Up Declaration, which we offer as a rallying point for what the entrepreneurship discussion should focus on, and what that can accomplish. We hope the Scale Up Declaration will gain momentum as a major factor in creating an aligned, accurate and comprehensive view of entrepreneurship.

Therefore, we declare that:

  • From the dawn of human society, entrepreneurship – the creation of value by scaling an enterprise has always had a positive and unique social and economic impact on those societies;
  • Great and successful entrepreneurs have always been, are, and will always be an essential part of great societies as job and wealth creators, innovators and, very often, philanthropists;
  • Great entrepreneurs benefit society first by scaling up as far and fast as possible, and then by reinvesting their success as inspiring role models, their knowledge as mentors or teachers, and financial gain, as investors in the next generation of entrepreneurs;
  • A scale up mindset – the powerful ambition to continually grow and have an impact on the marketplace – is the most important attitude of successful scale up entrepreneurs;
  • Scale up skills – leadership in bringing products and services to new and existing markets, while attracting and growing human, financial and customer capital to pursue it, as well as learning quickly from mistakes – are the most important skills that entrepreneurs can learn;
  • The quantity and success of local scale up entrepreneurs increases the quantity and success of other manifestations of entrepreneurship, including startups, small business, and family business;
  • Scale up entrepreneurship applies to every sector, whether services, manufacturing, information, media, health care, real estate, or biotechnology.
  • We all – educators, foundations, governments, investors, bankers, business people, entrepreneurs and all leaders in civil society – can and should do more to encourage scale up entrepreneurship in our regions and in the world;
  • Finally, we pledge to communicate through every available media channel (including email, Twitter, Facebook, and printed) the concepts and principles in this global Scale Up Declaration with the hashtag #ScaleUpDeclaration.

* Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice, Babson; Founder, Scale Up Milwaukee

** Founder and Vice Chairman, Aramex; Executive Chairman, Wamda Capital

*** Co-founder and former Chairman, G20 YES; Founder and CEO, NextStage

**** Entrepreneur and Angel Investor

***** Professor of the Practice of International Development, Havard Kennedy School

****** Founder and CEO, Endeavor, with special thanks to Endeavor President Fernando Fabre