Ecosystem of Big City – Can It Be Replicated in Emerging Market?

Well, beginning of the NYC module was interesting. Without any introduction i will straightaway  jump into first minutes of the first class. We were asked to figure out what we want to be thanked for in 10-20 years from now, in the next 10 minutes, question that people spend lifetime figuring out. Frankly, first and simplest answer that came to my mind was that i want to be thanked by me 20 years from now for making the right decisions. But soon it became obvious that presenters were not looking for this kind of answer, they were targeting higher goals and aims.

After some deliberation I came to some conclusion. I want to improve IPO situation in Georgia. I want to find out why this form of financing is neglected not only by people but companies in Georgia as well. I came to conclusion that i want to establish a law office and/or consulting company to help companies on the road to IPO. Simply, i want to take companies public.

To handle such  big task of improving IPO situation in Tbilisi many developments should be done. Overall business ecosystem of the city should be established and improved. At this point arises a question, how much can be borrowed from already established cities and whether the process of establishment of ecosystem can be replicated in emerging market. Alejandro gave us small timeline, how New York City in last 20 years changed its profile and added status of entrepreneurial city to its portfolio.

What creates an entrepreneurial city is its ecosystem that facilitates creation, development and scaling up of businesses. Start-ups, innovators and companies should have access to primary, secondary and tertiary resources within the city’s ecosystem:

  • Primary: Capital, Mentors, Users, Channel, Partners, Talent;
  • Secondary: Government, Communities, TA, Educational Institutions, Industry Associations;
  • Tertiary: Technological, Geographical, Economic, Social, Environmental, Political;

Whether an example of New York becoming a innovations hub can be replicated in Tbilisi is an interesting question. Many elements of above mentioned ecosystem are lacking. I think it is possible to be done with a lean approach and on a much smaller scale. Establishing the elements of ecosystem one by one is the key element of the process and the leading role in this process should be taken by city itself. It is important that this new profile is based in a future development strategy of the city.

Of all above mentioned elements one of the most important is a mindset of people in the lead. With the long-term vision and right attitude I think there is a potential for Tbilisi to become an innovations hub in Caucasus region.


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