Guest author Scott Gerber is founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council.
Entrepreneurs are often known for their sense of adventure. And what better way to run or expand your business than by seeking out opportunities in an up-and-coming, thriving metropolis that’s miles from your home base?
Ten entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) shared their favorite international startup spots and outline some of the benefits of each, from the U.K. to South Africa.
I think an entrepreneur dramatically increases their chances of success when there is an existing ecosystem at play. Tel Aviv has a tremendous amount of venture capital, research/development expertise and very strong engineers. There have been a lot of successful exits and they have the benefit of tremendous universities nearby.
London has always been the financial center of Europe and now it’s becoming the startup center as well. The city’s government has created several initiatives to attract entrepreneurs and there are many incubator and accelerator programs. If you’re looking to grow in the European market, base your startup in London.
Great startup areas have a big customer base, an innovative mindset and lots of capital. Hong Kong nails all three. It’s one of the more vibrant cities in the world, surrounded by an extremely large market. As one of the financial centers of Asia, capital abounds. And if you’re doing a hardware business, you have factories literally on your doorstep.
Amsterdam offers a lower cost of living than a place like London, with a vibrant startup scene (and cheap bandwidth). Its placement in mainland Europe means it provides access to 170 million consumers within a 300 mile radius. With major international offices based there, it offers a solid European footing in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and very expat-friendly country.
Tokyo has tons of resources, lots of talent and a fledgling startup community. In Japan, entrepreneurs are a novelty. The culture emphasizes hierarchy and teamwork, so most innovators haven’t realized that they can go out on their own. Tokyo offers an exceptional opportunity to introduce new business models in a culture that excels at improving on others’ ideas.
Singapore’s government is not only one of the easiest governments to work with when launching a business, it just invested $120M in seed and early stage startups. It features one of the fastest public transportation systems around as well as the Changi Airport, which is consistently rated the best airport in the world. Singapore understands the importance of maintaining itself as the premier destination for commerce, so it invests heavily outward to drive people inward.
I’ve had the pleasure of running my business in Singapore for nearly four years, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, Paypal and a number of other major tech companies have based their European headquarters in Dublin. There is access to funding, mentoring and technical firepower. Combine that with a lower cost of living and government support for startups, and Dublin makes the perfect city for aspiring entrepreneurs.
As a company based in both Brooklyn and Berlin, we’re probably biased, but Berlin is a fantastic location for entrepreneurs. The city’s inimitable vibe draws talented and creative people from all over the globe. The cost of rent—and living—is super low, and the famously supportive startup scene continues to soar. Berlin has it all!
The city is growing and developing at a phenomenal rate. If you’re looking for somewhere that’s really up and coming, this is it.
Manila is making business better, and not just for the Philippines. The exchange rate alone will ensure that every dollar of capital reaches its maximum potential. Most everyone speaks English, so it’s easy to communicate.
While many of the locals work for the government, there are many expats building web-based businesses with local talent. The work ethic of the average Filipino cannot be topped, and the education system ensures that talent is business and technology savvy. The beaches aren’t bad, either!
Homepage photo by Visit Israel