The next Silicon Valley is everywhere: join the debate in Toronto, Istanbul – and here

The next Silicon Valley is everywhere: join the debate in Toronto, Istanbul – and here

by Nitin Dahad

The ‘next’ Silicon Valley is everywhere, with discussions about how to nurture innovation-based economic development dominating the conversation, as it will in Toronto and Istanbul next month.

For nearly ten years The Next Silicon Valley has been an advocate and agent for global-oriented knowledge-based economic development. It is a forum for the discussion of the critical issues that confront investment and the creation of smart regions, smart cities, and innovation ecosystems around the world.

Ever since we established The Next Silicon Valley, we have promoted and worked actively with the key organizations in innovation and regional economic development. In our early days, we closely tracked the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), and we supported a partnership with Victor Hwang’s Global Innovation Summit in San Jose back in 2012.

As partners, Richard Wallace and I have participated in numerous events since then, from the IASP annual conference in Tallinn, Estonia in 2012 and the IEDC (International Economic Development Council) in Philadelphia in 2013, to the Techne Summit events in Alexandria, Egypt, in 2016 and Dubrovnik, Croatia this year.

The most lively discussions at these events are focused on how national and regional governments – as well as corporates – can encourage innovation, knowledge transfer, and commercialization of ideas. Also on everybody’s lips: formal and informal discussions around ideas for nurturing and developing tech business startups, entrepreneur ecosystem, global expansion and how best to attract inward investment.

Starting, creating a forum for, and being a part of these discussions has always been a core idea and the principle behind The Next Silicon Valley. It was not, as we get asked many times, to tell people where we thought the next Silicon Valley would take root.  The moniker is more of a metaphor for looking at and supporting all aspects of the innovation economy, and the seeds for economic growth and development that drive knowledge-based innovation.

Two of the member-based organizations that look at some of these issues are the IEDC and the IASP. Fittingly, both have their annual conferences in September, one after the other – the former (IEDC) between 17-20 September 2017 for the first time outside the USA, in Toronto Canada; and the latter (IASP) in Istanbul, Turkey, between 26-29 September 2017.

The conference theme for the IASP, a worldwide network of science parks and areas of innovation with 408 members, looks at future trends and strategies for science and technology parks (STPs) and innovation ecosystems that will boost innovative local economies. Also, it will debate topics such as new habitats for innovation, incubation services, new funding schemes for the STP ecosystem, as well as challenges such as internationalization for resident companies.

From a government and local, regional perspective, the IEDC conference explores how to nurture the startup ecosystem, recognizing that supporting early stage tech business development and creating smart, small, sustainable enterprises is the secret sauce in economic growth and development.

At the top of agenda at both gatherings are discussions about tech business incubators, accelerators, main street revitalization grants, educational programs, and other supportive tools which help increase small business scalability.

The IEDC event, in particular, has five conference tracks, of which one is about nurturing startups. Two of the other tracks worth highlighting are focused on ‘building local linkages and expanding global trade’ and ‘regional collaboration for investment promotion.

Global trade is vital to sustain economic growth, encouraging innovation and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) – hence the former track will explore examples of successful trade and investment relationships between international cities and regions. The latter track emphasizes and explores how a regional approach enhances the business case for investment decisions, whether it is from foreign sources or the next town, city or state.

Ten years after we began The Next Silicon Valley’s global journey, we arrived where we knew we always would: surveying a vastly different global innovation landscape in which the innovation and technology development engine that was Silicon Valley has been democratically replicated throughout the world.

The Next Silicon Valley’ is now a global forum and an informal, network of locations, regions, places, and destinations, all connected by a common objective – attract, nurture and promote the best and brightest –and the smartest – technology, talent, work force, investment and economic development policies.

We invite all government, business, and community stakeholders to participate in this forum. It is our belief that open, transparent, democratic discussion of knowledge-based economic development issues is the best way to preserve and advance a region’s unique business, technology, natural, agricultural and historical assets. It’s also the best way to build, renew, invent, develop, grow, and empower a brighter, better future for all.

Join the discussion. Send your letters, news, ideas, thoughts and opinions on present and future “next” Silicon Valleys anywhere to our email inbox for publication here.  And post your comments and follow us on our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Medium.

To learn more, and to get involved, contact either myself, Nitin Dahad, or Richard Wallace, via the contact page on this site and we’d be pleased to see how we can work with you to tell your story.

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