This paper lays out in detail the methodological foundations of the Startup Friendliness Index (SFI).

Startup Meter’s Startup Friendliness Index (SFI) is a comprehensive analysis of startup ecosystems at the city-level carried out using an indicator-based framework. Seven cities from Africa and the Middle East make up the first edition of the SFI - Accra, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Nairobi, Rabat, and Tunis. The focus on emerging and developing cities fills an important gap in the research on entrepreneurship ecosystems, which has been traditionally covering either countries or cities in developed economies.

With its four-level structure of indicators - sub-domains - domains - index, the SFI provides a clear overview of startup ecosystems. The index contains over 80 indicators that are categorized in 14 sub-domains and 6 domains, with the domains representing the key aspects of an ecosystem, for instance access to finance or human capital potential. The SFI reports the normalised values of the indicators for each city in order to render them comparable. These are relative scores that show how one city performs in one indicator in comparison to the other cities analysed. As such, indicator values range from 0 (for the city that has the lowest performance relative to the others) to 100 (for the city that has the best relative performance). Additionally, where relevant, the normalised scores are computed relative to the population of the city.

Most importantly, Startup Meter employs a balanced-system approach to calculating the scores, rewarding the most balanced and bottleneck-free ones. The index data is collected through surveys conducted among relevant stakeholders, through research, and from existing reports and databases of relevant organisations.

Find out more in our detailed methodology paper available for download.