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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The Belgrade Design Week was the best design conference I have ever enjoyed – the specific spirit of the city in a kind of in between status, the rough tension which can still be felt ten years after the bombs, the pride and the looking for new orientation especially in the young generation – all this is giving the BDW a special flair far away from the current events of the global design circus. In addition the enthusiastic organizational team trying hardly but unsuccessfully to keep the program along the schedules, the informal exchange between the international speakers, the loss of any discipline, the parties on the river … what ever and how ever the interrelations between these aspects are working – it makes the BDW an unique, likeable, inspiring and productive event, I will never forget.

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