We came across a great article in Bloomberg Business week with a topic “Why Boulder is America’s Best Town for Startups“, the article talks about Boulder and how they have build their startup ecosystem and also what is a good role for government.
We think this is a very timely topic to many cities around the world, so we wanted to also cover this topic here as well.
There’s no denying the power of the Silicon Valley as the global leader when it comes to startups. That said, it really does not help so much the people outside the Valley and even less the cities around the world that are trying to build their own vibrant startup ecosystem and that’s why we see the case for Boulder Colorado, much more appealing for cities around the globe to take a note.
The history of Silicon Valley goes all the way back to great gold rush, so it’s easy to understand, that the model to build a such ecosystem can not really be learned from the Valley alone.
There have also been many posts about this topic, like this Article by Fred Wilson “Startup Ecosystems Take Time“, where he also points to some other articles.
The main point about these discussions is about “how long does it take?”
If Silicon Valley have been 50 years of making, Fred and others seem to agree that for any new ecosystem it will still take decades to build and get it work, but here’s where we disagree.
It does not need to take that long and that’s good news for cities that are just starting to see the undeniable change force of the entrepreneurship and are in their early days of building a functional local startup ecosystem.
We think this article in Bloomberg Business week explains a great example of how long (or short) in reality it can take to build a vibrant ecosystem, when it’s driven with passionate people and the whole city is behind it.
As shown in Boulder it only took about 4-5 years and that’s less that what Fred and others are thinking.
So what are the new factors that accelerate the process of building the local startup ecosystem?
Our favorite method to showcase the fast pace of online is a video by the Socialenomics author Erik Qualman, where he also describes the size of Facebook as: “if Facebook would be a country it would be the 3rd largest country in the world”.
This says a lot, but at the same time if all Internet users would be a country it simply would be the largest country in the world, and there too a startup ecosystem is needed and that’s why Startup Commons is focused on Ecosystem Development.
In that article, there’s also a great side note about what governments should do and this is a very important detail to take a note:
We strongly agree, this is crucial for any government and other public organizations to understand: the best thing they can do is to facilitate, but other than that let people shape it.
In global level this is very much our own position as well, as it’s not about what we do, as it is about people coming together to start great things and to solve problems of all kinds.
So we too only build tools to facilitate this, by taking our role to develop and serve the needs and activities for those using our platform.
But we also want to help the local ecosystems to make it easier to tap in to global resources and that’s why we are building local platforms that are globally connected, because by combining the virtual an physical worlds and activities together, that will be the real winning combination for everyone.
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