People constantly start businesses all over the world. However, the majority of successful tech startups come from the United States, and more often than not, from Silicon Valley in Northern California. There are a handful of other moderately strong tech communities in the United States (Boston and Seattle come to mind) but not in many other cities. Try finding abundant startup resources almost anywhere else in the U.S. and you will come up short.
What about elsewhere in the industrialized world? There are certainly success stories out of Europe. Take Skype, based in Europe, and sold to eBay for $2.6 Billion in September of 2005. And I do have the sense that the European tech community is slowly growing stronger as time goes by. That said, it is still much harder to start a business in Europe than Silicon Valley. Here’s an anecdote: my friend tried to start an online education business related to language learning two years ago. Her husband was working in the UK, so she attempted to start her business in London. She’s as passionate and bright as they come, but London simply wasn’t fertile enough ground for entrepreneurship so they moved back to California.
Truth be told, it is hard to start a tech startup in the best of circumstances. Well-capitalized startups in Silicon Valley with stellar teams and patented technology fail all the time. It’s even more difficult in the U.S. outside of Silicon Valley. It’s harder yet in other parts of the industrialized world. So imagine trying to start a company in the developing world, where startup resources seem to be most lacking!
Should potential entrepreneurs in the developing world give up and leave the launching of new ventures to the lucky residents of Silicon Valley? NO! While the barriers may be higher and the challenges more daunting, I believe that launching a startup in the developing world will become easier over time. My hope is that we start to see enormously successful tech startups emerging from all parts of the world. My hope is that the next Google or Facebook becomes as likely to be founded in your country as mine! I believe this dream becomes more realistic as more people understand and grapple with the specific issues facing entrepreneurs in the developing world. This blog is dedicated to the discussion of those issues. Stay tuned!