September 17, 2014
[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a multi-part series on some of the top Startup ecosystems in the world]
When Chris D. came up with a great idea for his startup he was already thinking outside the box.
But his innovation didn’t stop there. His thought process extended far beyond the business idea into WHERE to best execute his plan.
He was already established in New York. And had he followed the conventional wisdom, that’s where he would have set up shop.
But then again, doing things differently and better than others is the hallmark of a great entrepreneur.
Comparing costs, lifestyle, and entrepreneurial environments, he found that by leaving the country he could have stronger opportunities and a better work environment for half the cost.
And it was anything but a sacrifice.
Trading in a tiny flat in Manhattan, he and his co-founder were able to rent a 6-bedroom penthouse apartment, complete with a pool, gorgeous views, and a maid.
Yes you read that right, a maid.
Honestly, what could be better for focusing on your big idea than not having to think about cooking and cleaning?
Bootstrapping your startup is definitely a lot of work, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun while you do it.
And it’s not just about your lifestyle, but the business environment as well.
The goal isn’t of course to find just the cheapest place in the world to live. You also want to find a place where you can start a business quickly and easily, and where there is low taxation and availability of the talent you need.
It’s great that a number of cities around the world are hotly competing to become the next Silicon Valley.
In the process, they are creating excellent and exceptionally welcoming environments for new businesses.
They want you to start your business there, so they are going out of their way to entice entrepreneurs with better working spaces and greater access to mentorship and capital.
This is exactly what’s happening in Medellín, Colombia, which is where Chris chose to launch his startup. (Surprise!)
Named by the Wall Street Journal as the most innovative city in the world in 2012, Medellín has so much to offer budding entrepreneurs.
People are coming from around the world to be a part of Medellin’s environment of openness and opportunity, enhancing these aspects even further.
And the Colombian government is actively making it easier foreigners to live and work in the city, and to encourage business and entrepreneurship as well.
Medellin’s startup ecosystem now consists of numerous incubators, co-working spaces, and networking events.
And supplementing the vibrant nightlife and social scene of Medellín, you can keep busy with regular events specifically designed for entrepreneurs, hosted weekly by groups like CoffeeGrid and the Medellin Entrepreneurship Society.
Both domestic and international ventures that come to the city can dive in to this strong network of entrepreneurs.
And if accepted to an incubation program, foreigners can benefit even further from the available mentors and facilitated access to VC funding.
Why spend your time fighting upstream, struggling to cover expenses and to get noticed in a far more saturated arena?
There are better, more innovative ways to make it happen. After all, that’s what startups are all about.