Which is a better environment to launch a startup? It’s a good question and to get a general idea, the best thing to do would be to look at international standards of how startup locations are measured. There was a recent report the the Startup Genome Project who listed the top 20 startup locations around the world. Cape Town and Johannesburg both made it into the top 40 (not 20) but I thought it would be interesting to measure them on the same metrics used in the report and see how they compare:
This is a question that I was often asked in my role as coordinator at the Silicon Cape Initiative. But it’s the wrong question – you should be asking what is Silicon Cape trying to achieve. Let me explain…
The Silicon Cape Initiative was formed on the premise that South Africans are generally very bad at advertising what we have and what we can do.
When you look at the various countries that have tried to stimulate innovation and create an entrepreneurial ecosystem there are 2 distinct camps. The first (read Russia and China) have tried to do it through building infrastructure. The have built large techno parks and tried to entice entrepreneurs to fill them with innovative companies. In most cases this approach fails, normally only after massive amounts of capital has been spent.
What does it take to recreate a Silicone Valley? This question has been looked at from various perspectives, but how does that relate to us? What will it take for Cape Town to build a strong entrepreneurship community and why is it preferred over Joburg? With this article I hope to re-ignite the discussion and to highlight some things that we, as South African entrepreneurs can use to build upon.
“The exciting thing is, all you need are the people. If you could attract a critical mass of nerds and investors to live somewhere, you could reproduce Silicon Valley. And both groups are highly mobile. They’ll go where life is good. So what makes a place good to them?” – PG
Here are a couple of factors that I perceive to be the most important things that the greater Cape Town area has going for it as far as attracting the types of people that you need for a startup environment:
Saw a great book that recently came out, Young World Rising by Rob Salkowitz. Its on the new rise of the wave of new young entrepreneurs and how they are bringing forth new changes to the global landscape. South Africa and Silicon Cape are one of the ‘New worlds’ in which this is happenning. Here is a piece taken from the facebook page in Rob’s own words:
In Young World Rising, I identify six hallmarks or characteristics unique to the next-generation entrepreneurial ventures I explored around the world. Young World entrepreneurs:
1. Blend social and commercial objectives
2. Creatively align public, private and NGO resources
3. Leverage communities and collaboration
4. Are well-adapted and sustainable
5. Embrace the globalization of the knowledge workforce
6. Solve systemic problems while meeting market needs.
In the next few days, I will be elaborating on each of these hallmarks. In the meantime, I am interested in hearing from young entrepreneurs and other interested folks: does this sound right? Does your business plan fit these criteria?
Sounds like some solid advice and is well researched. Its definitely made its way onto my “Must Read” list.