A ‘ROUND THE WORLD TICKET TO THE BEST ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM ON THE PLANET BY AMY GUTTMAN, FORBES

A round-the-world ticket to the best ecosystems on the planet is a tall order, but, I intend to deliver. I’ve been writing about interesting entrepreneurs doing interesting things on this blog, and I’ll continue to do so, but I’m shifting focus slightly. Or rather, I’m creating a focus, specifically turning my lens to entrepreneurial ecosystems – what governments do, or don’t to support them, shining a spotlight on those that are emerging, established, or simply thriving. It’s a topic I’ve long been interested in, and have covered in some detail, from places like Iran, where I explored the dynamic startup scene, partly a result of sanctions, fuelled by 20-somethings adapting Western goods and services websites like the brothers who created an Iranian Amazon and a woman who developed her version of Groupon to address local needs. There, like most places, the ecosystem isn’t limited to technology. New hotels going up to accommodate tourism and foreign investors contribute as much as startups. And some entrepreneurs, like Anna Sani, are successful despite a decidedly low-tech presence for her fashion business. She markets her designs exclusively through Facebook, currently banned in Iran, but accessed through a VPN, and Instagram.

Or, take Serbia, with its design incubator, driven by 20 and 30-somethings, a generation with enough political stability to concentrate on aesthetics rather than escaping conflicts. It goes hand in hand with Belgrade Design Week. The decade-old annual event attracts an international crowd, taking a “slow and steady wins the race” approach with double-sided exposure. It’s been building on its success each year, encouraging young design students to think big. The Balkan country has become known for its competent pool of engineering graduates, including three friends whose startup produces the most popular sports game on the internet. Government initiatives to lure foreign investment are helping establish modern business structures for young entrepreneurs.

Read the entire article at Forbes.

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Belgrade Design Week is a one-off – a unique set-up that is free from the corporate atmosphere that so often pervades other such events. The energy, optimism and warmth of Jovan and his team flows through every event – lectures, workshops, meals & drinks alike!   I’ve never been good at sitting in a dark lecture hall for more than an hour or so at a time but found myself doing three lectures back to back at Belgrade – such was the quality of speakers. Timetabling was crazy at times but at BDW everybody seems happy to ‘go with the flow’ – and has an even better time for doing so. The City of Belgrade should be very proud of this gem!

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