Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development Summit Update – San Francisco, CA
An Ecosystem Update
As many of you know, Tech Ranch® has actually not only done work in Austin, TX, but all over the world. This past weekend – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – I was in San Francisco, meeting with a colleague from South America who I’ve worked with over the past 12 years. I’d like to give you a very short glimpse into an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit that we attended. I also look forward to telling you what I learned about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in that part of the world.
The person on the other side of the table was a gentleman by the name of Leonardo Maldonado from Chile. We looked at things that happened in the past, shared memories of our projects together and discussed each of our present initiatives. We then mused on what was possible for our collective future, and then closed with a discussion on future trends that we think are going to drive what’s happening in this space.
Looking to Past History
Both Leo and I have a history of building out international networks. Some of you don’t know, but the first 1,000 entrepreneurs to go through a program, which would look like what became Tech Ranch®, were actually in Chile. I worked with Leonardo and a couple of the other key individuals on the Chilean entrepreneurial ecosystem development there, many years ago – 12 years ago – and we compared then and now.
Gulliver – Leo’s organization – has been working on a Latin-American ecosystem congress. They’ve had a lot of advancement and have pulled together a lot of stakeholders – especially, in South America – into this program, as well as work in Medellin, Ecuador, Antofagasta, Copiapo and Lima.
Tech Ranch® has had programs in Mexico and we just announced a program that’s happening in Japan in conjunction with the Japanese government. We are also doing some exploration – purely exploration at this point – in the Middle East. During our South by Southwest 2015 program, Tech Ranch® had quite a global impact. Between the six countries that partnered with us, the 200 entrepreneurs that directly participated in our program, and many other interactions that occurred, a lot of value was created not just for our core delegates but the entire global entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Discussing the Present
Presently, we’re actually building complimentary versions of the entrepreneurial network to globalize our operations. This was jump-started by the work that I have been doing in Austin and the work that Leonardo has been doing in the Santiago area. However, it has now has spread out across the Americas, Japan, and as I explained, a tiny bit of exploration in the Middle East and Europe.
On Friday night, Chivas – the whiskey brand – actually had a contest where the winning team was one of Leonardo’s startups. They won the grand prize of $300,000 at a pitch competition called The Venture, specifically focus on social innovation. It is exciting that Gulliver’s work and the work that Tech Ranch® has been doing have aligned. The team that won is changing the world through basic staple distribution. They’re actually taking on what they call the “poverty tax” of cost of products. The basic products you have in your house to eat are actually more expensive for the poor than for you and me. They have an interesting solution and it is great to see that they won.
Gulliver’s Work & an Open-Source Strategy to Ecosystem Development
The work that Leonardo’s working on with Gulliver now, is how to accelerate the growth of emerging ecosystems through what he’s calling an open-source strategy. It has six different parts. Starting with what we say at Tech Ranch®, “We focus on the entrepreneur, not the startup.”
- Incubate the individual – even though we’ve evolved separately, there’s a similar focus
- Create tribes – the goal is to bring the right people together
- Weave above stakeholders together
- Cultivate meaning – to answer the following questions, “What is it to succeed?” and “What are we doing this together?” The idea is to tear down the walls between different stakeholders, to cultivate meaning beyond that, then…
- Create a culture of change and innovation – celebrate – as the Apple commercial has been in the past – to think different. Celebrate the weird ones; that might be a way of saying it in a certain way. Ask the question, “who should the community actually perceive is the hero?”
- Promote cross-pollination – Leonardo and his team are actually writing a book on that. They’re going to open it up so other individuals will be able to participate. Certainly myself, Tech Ranch®, and the Tech Ranch® team will be supporting that ecosystem development – the whole conversation around that work – and you’ll see more about that coming soon.
Our Collective Future
What we’re looking at moving forward is how to continue to build this global network of entrepreneurs together. You’ll hear more about this as we work together. One of the basic tenants behind Tech Ranch® is to build these global bridges. Many of you don’t know, my first dollars earned were actually pesos in Mexico, 21 years ago. It’s because I had access to that customer that I was able to get my startup here in Austin off the ground…but first customer in Mexico. We’ll begin to see more of these examples and explorations as we build bridges that then create real business opportunity.
- Quantified self
- Acceleration models
- Big data
The test of this simple idea, at the summit, was a success. I learned quite a lot and we now see the opportunity to invite other ecosystem leaders into this conversation. We’ll be doing this formally. I just mentioned a few weeks ago when I was speaking in Tijuana that I would do this. I also did the same in Guanajuato, Mexico, and I’ve mentioned it to several individuals from cities in the United States and Canada as well that we’d like to start a bigger ecosystem conversation. As you might know, I studied 36 different models of entrepreneur support in building up Tech Ranch® and building up the model behind Tech Ranch. But what we’re going to do from now is create a sharing mechanism and figure out how we can actually do this together so we can support an ever-increasing number of entrepreneurs.
Please let us know specific questions that you find of interest and how we can actually best serve your interest in taking care of these entrepreneurs worldwide.