Silicon Valley has become the go-to location to create that big technology business for most American entrepreneurs. Well, not just Americans but entrepreneurs from far and near aspire to create successful technology businesses that compete globally and make the kind of impact we are witnessing today from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Evernote etc.
In the Valley as we know it, every new digital business aspire to disrupt and be the next big thing. The persistence to be that company of the moment makes a lot of difference. The passion to succeed and be the best at it keeps entrepreneurs working hard at their projects all the time and that could be replicated anywhere in the world with the right people who are prepared to make that commitment. The bad news for those who wish to replicate the success of the Valley is that this is not easy to reproduce, not even in some cities in the US.
The success of Silicon Valley took time to build and that cannot be taken for granted. It took years to make the Valley a great and attractive location as we know it now. According to Paul Graham “It wouldn’t be surprising if it were hard to reproduce in other countries, because you couldn’t reproduce it in most of the US either.”
In the words of Brad Templeton – Chair of the Networks and Computing Track at Singularity University .”…the valley has pulled in the best and brightest of the world, and in particular the most driven. By selecting for drive, the valley is repeating the thing that made the USA and Canada great a century ago as nations of immigrants.
The Chilean government wants to replicate the vibrant Valley community in Chile that can produce startups with global impact, hence the creation of Startup Chile: a program to attract world-class early stage entrepreneurs worldwide to start their businesses in Chile. Selected startups receive $40k grant per project. The program is expected to attract 1,000 startups by 2014 and so far it is succeeding at attracting the brightest and smartest across the world.
The famous Silicon roundabout of London is also creating a similar magnet to attract and retain talent. Silicon roundabout is the center of London’s emerging tech cluster and it looks promising. In the heart of the London Tech community, there’s Google Campus, seven floors of mentoring programs and flexible work spaces.
Success is more than just mere passion and enthusiasm to succeed in the midst of failure. By nearly every credible source, more than 95 percent of startups fail but passionate entrepreneurs don’t give up after a single failure. The freedom and the possibility of large amounts of wealth and even fame are compelling enough to keep entrepreneurs working even after a failure on a project. As Elizabeth Charnock of businessweek rightly puts it: Valley culture lionizes those who risk their egos—and, at least in the short term, their wallets.
Success in any location requires the right people with the right mindset, a great culture that embrace failure as a stepping stone to disruption, a vibrant investor community that are ready to support and invest in brilliant ideas and smart teams. And that is what the Valley represents.
“Results in Europe show that if you don’t have the right government infrastructure and policies in place, you’ll wish you had never started down the path of trying to create the incubator phenomenon,” says John Nesheim, a professor of high-tech entrepreneurialism at Cornell and the author of the startup bible High Tech Start Up. Creating a robust startup community or technology hub requires every support, especially from the government to succeed and grow.
The new US Startup Act 3.0 when passed into Law would grant entrepreneurs who employ at least two full-time employees or raise investments up to $100,000 an additional three years to grow, with the possibility for permanent status. The bill also includes tax breaks and incentives for startups. In any location, entrepreneurs need all these incentives to focus on starting and growing great startups. If any region or city wants to be an attractive hub for creating innovative companies, the government needs to think right to create an enabling environment to attract the creative class.
With the ability to adapt quickly, fail fast and move, a community that does not punish failure, right government support and above all the will and passion to success in the midst of hardships, any city, community or region can create an innovative hub to foster creativity and build disruptive businesses. On the other hand it will be very challenging for any city or region to compete with the stunning record of innovation, creativity, and wealth generation at the Valley.
Which city do you think can become another magnet for the world’s most creative and smartest minds?
Image: Silicon Roundabout (London), courtesy Torcello Trio/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.