My friend Mariana (@Yaquesita) is one of the best sources of excellent articles and blog posts I don't find myself. She covers a wide range of subjects, including education, gadgets, tech, entrepreneurship and all things Mexico to name a few subjects. She is well worth a follow on Twitter. Today she sent me a post “Can our country be the next Silicon Valley?” from Tech Crunch.
The article lists six factors to duplicate Silicon Valley, which are:
I think this list misses the point. To foster great entrepreneurship requires three factors:
- Available capital to finance early stage companies
- Great universities, such as Stanford and Cal Tech
- A culture of business people (this is a difficult point to explain at the risk of being discriminatory, but certain groups have thousand year cultures of doing business)
You also need a regulatory environment sufficiently permissive to allow individual empowerment. Not a full fledged democracy, but a certain permissiveness that allows business formation.
In many countries the biggest challenge is the lack of great universities (Latin America). In an equally large number of countries there is no long standing culture involved in business (perhaps much of Africa). Everywhere access to early stage capital is an issue, even in Europe.
If we reduce the scope of the analysis to regions like Silicon Valley or cities, the possible centers of entrepreneurship are reduced further. For example, in Asia there may be only 5-6 cities that have a great university devoted to technology, but 4-5 of these lack multiple sources of organized capital for early stage companies.
Re-creating Silicon Valley is not impossible, but I would start by attracting a great technology oriented university to the area. Two would be better as Silicon Valley shows with Stanford and Cal Tech. Also, note that Boston has both MIT and Harvard.
My last article on this theme is here.