What have Bangkok, Bristol and Brno got in common? The answer is that they are among the smartest, most entrepreneur-friendly cities in the world. And where these cities are leading today — technologically, socially, intellectually — is likely to determine where we’ll all be heading tomorrow.
But what does that mean on the ground? What makes a city smart? And why are some so much better at it than others? These are among the issues that will be explored in the me Convention’s two-day Startup Cities conference track, back by popular demand for a third year running.
Here’s the format: representatives from 12 of the world’s most successful startup cities have been invited to Frankfurt to explain how and why their home town has become an incubator for innovation. Each speaker will be given 10 minutes to outline their city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, run through the subsidies that exist to attract vibrant young businesses, and unpack the benefits of co-operation with universities and other educational institutes. And, to quote Einstein, because “failure is success in progress”, they will also share the challenges, problems and frustrations they have encountered along the way.
What sets me Convention Startup Cities presentations apart is that each and every speaker knows exactly what they’re talking about. Not because they’ve written a paper or conducted a survey, but because they’ve been there and done it. They know what starting a pioneering business feels like from the inside — the highs, the lows, the risks, the rewards, the champagne moments and the mundane grunt work. It’s a rare opportunity to find out what’s really happening in the startup ecosystems of cities around the world — and in the hearts and minds of the entrepreneurs who drive them.