I read a really interesting article this week, written by Richard Florida in The Atlantic Monthly’s City Lab column, on the findings from the 2015 edition of the Startup Genome Project from Compass, which provides a new ranking for the world’s leading startup cities. The report is based on data from 11,000 global startup companies and interviews with more than 200 entrepreneurs worldwide. Its ranking gauges the world’s leading startup ecosystems—the broad infrastructure of talent, knowledge, entrepreneurs, venture capital, and companies that make up a startup community. The report measures these ecosystems based on their quality of talent, pool of venture capital resources, experience and mentorship provided by startup founders, market reach of their companies, and the ultimate performance and exit value of their companies. So, the big question is where is Africa on the list? The answer is, nowhere right now!
So in the spirit of getting things done, at Lionesses of Africa we calling on all women entrepreneurs across the continent to nominate the African city that they feel best supports the growth of women entrepreneurs and their businesses, and tell us what they are getting right and how other cities on the continent can follow their lead.
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that Silicon Valley again tops the list, as it did when the first report was published in 2012. New York rises to second place, up from fifth in 2012. Los Angeles is third and Boston fourth. All in all, U.S cities took the top four spots, and seven crack the top 20, with Chicago seventh, Seattle eighth, and Austin 14th. But the report also highlights the rise of significant startup ecosystems in other major cities around the world. Tel Aviv is fifth, London sixth, Berlin ninth, and Singapore 10th. Three Canadian cities make the top 20—Toronto comes in at number 17, Vancouver at 18, and Montreal at 20. Half of the world’s leading startup ecosystems are in the U.S. and Canada, and 16 of 20 span North America and Europe. That said, the rankings of Tel Aviv, Singapore, São Paulo, and Bangalore show that startups are taking shape in the so-called emerging economies. And it is likely that cities in China and other Asian nations would have scored highly if data were available.
So, the big question is, where is Africa and which start-up cities on the continent are gearing themselves up to be considered in the world’s leading startup cities list? Perhaps we need to look to the policy-makers, influencers, and urban leaders to do to better in facilitating world-class startup ecosystems here on the African continent, that can benchmark themselves against those in the US and Europe? We also need to see our governments doing considerably better in providing the necessary infrastructure to support the growth of entrepreneurship, such as reliable and affordable telecommunications networks, greater and more affordable access to internet, better access to funding for startups, and greater support for innovation by startups in each country.
However, entrepreneurs in Africa simply do not have the time or the energy to wait for governments to create the perfect environment in which to thrive. They have no choice but to get on with building their businesses and creating their own entrepreneurial environments that best work for them, in spite of all the challenges and hurdles often facing them. So in the spirit of getting things done, at Lionesses of Africa we calling on all women entrepreneurs across the continent to nominate the African city that they feel best supports the growth of women entrepreneurs and their businesses, and tell us what they are getting right and how other cities on the continent can follow their lead. We will profile each of these African startup cities and help to put them on the global map.