The Brighton School of Business and Management recently released an infographic that reveals the top 10 places to launch your startup, which was published in the Swiss company Seedstars World. I recently found an article where a writer in Forbes interviewed the founder of Seedstars to get her take on why each of these cities is such a good place for a startup. Below are the cities listed in the infographic, and what incentives they have to offer:
Kuala Lumpur: The cost of living in Malaysia is a lot cheaper than in neighboring Singapore, so there’s been a trend of startups that are incorporated in Singapore but based in Thailand or Malaysia. Malaysia is also a good test market with three different nationalities present. So theoretically, if you can make it in Malaysia then you’ll have a shot at making it in the Chinese, Malay/Indonesian and Indian markets.
Beijing: Although Chinese culture doesn’t foster entrepreneurship, this is changing fast and success stories are making it a more and more valued career path. China has also been focusing on higher-end and more advanced manufacturing. China has a tax relief program for startups that have been established by previously unemployed workers and recent college graduates. Earlier this year, China set up a USD 6.5B VC fund for startups, with a particular emphasis on seed stage startups. The country now runs at least 1,500 incubators.
Warsaw: Due to its bigger internal market and strong history of entrepreneurship, Poland is considered a much better entrepreneurial market than its Czech and Slovak neighbors to the south. They already have a few success stories under their belt, and have been attracting some of the top tech companies around the world, including Google. Apart from Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk and Wroclaw are all becoming major startup hubs in Poland.
Moscow: Although failure is feared and condemned, Russia still places a strong value on entrepreneurship. The legacy of the Soviet Union means that there’s a large number of both quality engineers and hardware companies. However, political tension and currency devaluation has meant there’s a clear brain drain.
Bangalore: In cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi and Chennai, entrepreneurship is strong. There’s a huge market, and the number of engineers that graduate every year is impressive. Bangalore’s startup scene is traditionally focused on engineering and tech development, which means it can be difficult for founders to find good business development or design counterparts. Although there aren’t any incentives for startups and it can take several months to set up a business, the cost isn’t too high. In the city itself, there are at least 10 startup events happening every week, which fosters a strong startup culture.
Sydney: Being an entrepreneur in Sydney is well-respected, although most people still tend to seek the comfort of corporate employment. Most startups are still focusing on their local market, although there has been a shift in mindset where they start to think more globally. Unfortunately, the government doesn’t tend to allow for any special tax incentives for entrepreneurs.
Tunis: The recent Arab Spring served as a turning point for the entrepreneurial spirit of this small North African city, and things are still very very new here. One of the most pioneering startups here is Tunisia Live, an English-language news portal that was originally set up to transmit live images and report breaking news during the Arab Spring. Startups here tend to use and create tech products to mobilize communities, often engaging them in political discussions and working for the collective good. To better support the local entrepreneurship market, policy makers have started to implement new strategies and programs to boost incubators, accelerators and education programs.
London: In the first quarter of 2015, investors pumped a record-breaking £459m of venture capitalist funds into London’s digital sector. This is augmented by seed enterprise investment schemes (SEIS), the British Business Bank, R&D tax breaks and government startup loans. Tech is now regarded as the lifeblood to powering Britain’s economic recovery, with Britain’s fintech players being worth an estimated £20bn in annual revenues collectively.
Cairo: A mass of young and educated graduates in Egypt means that a whole bunch of startups have been popping up. Entrepreneurs have been fighting setbacks to exploit the birth of various new accelerators and crowdfunding campaigns. Thanks to the quality of local universities, Cairo is also home to some of the best engineering talent in the area.
Sofia: Although it isn’t a well-known fact, Sofia has one of the lowest income taxes (10%) and one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. There are some very successful companies coming out of the scene here, and Sofia has become a strong regional hub by accessing the EU’s structural funds to create three separate funds: LAUNCHub, Eleven Startup Accelerator and Neveq.