The ecosystem of a start-up part 1

At the launch of Dieple Consulting in May 2019, I shared the founder’s journey (Find it here), discussing the internal success considerations for starting a business. The next few articles will explore the external opportunities.

Let’s take a trip down under.

Sydney is Australia’s most populous city, geographically located at the mouth of port Jackson. Its harbour forms part of the network of bays and harbours formed of a river submerged by the Tasman sea. The harbour annually brings thousands of visitors, trade goods food and military equipment to and from its lands, enabling commerce and its bustling urban lifestyle.  The geography of the city in the context of the landscape, flora and fauna of greater Australia as well as its climate makes Sydney the city of the 3rd most foreign-born residents behind London and New York, and a healthy economic ecosystem, supporting trade with New Zealand, Asia and the rest of the world.

So, what is an ecosystem?

In the biological sense, an ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non-living components of their environment, interacting as a system (Wikipedia). Ecosystems develop naturally, linked to geographical features, flora and fauna native to the area, or the minerals existing in the area. Many economic ecosystems are catalysed by the injection of funds for research or for infrastructure, and sometimes supported by government free trade zones. Other areas can be characterised by their history and become a haven for artists and creatives.

Silicon Valley is the most important global cluster of technology, and as such has become a key location for start ups and unicorns to thrive. This started first due to geography and the proximity to a safe harbour, then evolved due to investment in research and education in the area, then through its own success; with corporate investors bringing the capital needed to further fuel its growth. Silicon valley’s relevance is unlikely to fade, but others are likely to join it in significance over the next few years. New York, London, Boston, Shanghai and Beijing have already achieved substantial funding, while others are growing in Helsinki, Jakarta, Hangzhou, Lagos, Montreal and Moscow, Mumbai, Melbourne Sao Paolo, Seoul and Tokyo.

How do you create one?

A young and promising start up ecosystem is emerging in Tallinn Estonia, supported directly by its government policies and the use of technology. Applying for a visa to launch your start up there is possible in very few clicks on the internet, while funding and accelerator programmes are in place to support growth, and the tax regime is favourable to corporations. There are circa 650 start-ups in Estonia, and they are performing well, bringing floods of funding into the nation’s capital, fuelling further investment in education, infrastructure and on environmental considerations.

What about my neighbourhood?

If you are interested in starting a business you would like to scale, but you don’t live in one of the cities mentioned above, it is highly likely you will start at a disadvantage, despite the connectivity of our modern digital world. Without the infrastructure and services designed with start-ups in mind, you can pay more for the basics, and not receive the most current and relevant guidance. That said, local chambers of commerce are a good place to get started. For a small registration fee, you can gain access to supporting services such as logistics import/export, contract disputes, employment law, training, and of course networking through the chamber. Although chambers tend to be slow to modernise, the hidden benefit through networking by these means is potentially finding a mentor in the community where you live who can help to guide your steps, and potentially even invest.

Ecosystems are a key source of accelerated growth for start-ups. In our next article, we will discuss more digital resources to support the journey.