I’m heading to Istanbul, the historic crossroads of the European and Asiatic worlds to represent the United States as a delegate to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress. Beyond the amazing sight seeing, cultural experiences (Turkish Baths anyone?) and world class food I am honored to spend the next few days deep in conversation with the best entrepreneurial ecosystem builders in the world. I’m proud to join Alicia Dean of the City of Austin and Alexis Taylor of 3 Day Startup as a delegate from the Austin area.
Global Entrepreneurship Network
The Global Entrepreneurship Congress, a program supported by the Kauffman Foundation and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, is a discussion focused conference centered on building entrepreneurial communities. Entrepreneurial communities are where people look to themselves to solve issues that appear and communities where a focus on solutions overcome a focus on problems. They are also places where creativity and industry thrive.
MediaTech Ventures was invited to discuss our success in launching the podcast studio, running MediaTech Week and our soon to launch coworking space. We were blessed entering a strong community made up of artists, musicians, producers, videographers, programmers, event spaces and fans and now our success relies on supporting and growing this specific niche of the community. And I’m entering this Congress to build this capability and bring the greatest ecosystem practices back home to Texas.
A few quick bullet points to highlight this opportunity (and celebrate the great work being done around the world):
- The South African delegation won the Company delegation of the year for the work of a small group of entrepreneurs selling the idea of the largest coworking space in Africa to Richard Branson, the South African government and a series of large and small investors. The result of this: 22 on Sloane
- Russia is running a program based on the success of mid-tier city entrepreneurial growth (cities like America’s San Antonio, Austin, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, etc.) and working on building out strong entrepreneurial communities outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg to spur growth.
- Startup Genome (also a sponsored group of Kauffman, the lead sponsor for the GEN group) will be releasing their comprehensive startup report tomorrow in honor of the conference. Check out the 2018 Startup Genome Report here on April 17th.
- Coworking spaces are a hit! South Africa, Nigeria, Indonesia, China and Russia are all investing heavily in these spaces.
- Integrating new groups like accelerators, coworking spaces, VC and angel networks with traditional communities like Chambers of Commerce has been discussed by multiple groups.
- Reducing burdens to starting a company is a major theme. The Uzbekistan delegation in particular mentioned progress in throwing off Soviet influence that lowered risk tolerance, creating alternatives to previously government sponsored monopolies and building institutional knowledge to get around a complex and antiquated legal system.
- Entrepreneurial education for people in diaspora and refugees is a theme here due to the large number of Syrian refugees hosted in Turkey. The Turkish organization Habitat is educating Arabic speaking refugees in the Turkish language, entrepreneurial methods and helping them start companies and groups.
- The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erodgan stopped by to speak with us. He discussed the refugee situation, Turkey’s economic growth, Infrastructure investment, the importance of entrepreneurship, his recommendation for families to have 3 children and many other topics.
- Finally, a huge thank you to the Kauffman Foundation and Global Entrepreneurs Network (GEN) for creating these opportunities. It’s not often I’m surrounded by such a diverse, global and engaged group and the work done by these organizations is impressive.
I look forward to bringing back a full report once the event is over and using the learning and networks here to better serve you. Texas is the world’s tenth largest economy (about the same size as Canada) and the potential we have in this state alone is on par with that of many of the large nations represented here.
Signing off from Istanbul,