5 Countries Where You Can Create Tech Companies and Marvel at Art

5 Countries Where You Can Create Tech Companies and Marvel at Art
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How does the idea of being your own boss sound to you?

So often we may get tempted to consider only the perks of the entrepreneurial life.

Just imagine... you arrange the day according to your idea of priorities without having the fixed timetable. In reality although you may not be accountable to a supervisor, you do report on your responsibilities to team members, clients, stakeholders and investors.

With the onset of You Economy, it gets easier to work in remote teams and to travel the world in search for better connections, extraordinary deals and lower costs.

In this text I will equip you with experience of young entrepreneurs on three continents who understand the laws of conducting the global business and adding the local flavours to their brands.

After reading this you would be able to find your big why? or the motivating force in running your international business as you get inspired by the intersection of new media and arts at these locations.


1) How to make Swiss entrepreneurship more tempting than chocolate?

If we surveyed randomly people in the streets, they would most likely group the best Swiss brands into categories: banks, watches and chocolate, which is actually the result of Interbrand's ranking for best Swiss brands.

In the abundant Swiss society innovation reminds us of superbly precise watches and playing by the book. For fresh university graduates and their families the common denominator of success is getting a stable corporate job with plenty windows for promotion.

Very few Swiss graduates set out to start their own ventures because in case their business fails it will be a negative sign on their resume.

However, two accomplished entrepreneurs have joined forces to change such bleak, risk-averse entrepreneurship mentality of young Swiss people who are just starting out their careers.

Christian Hirsig, founder of Atizo and Alain Chuard, whose Wildfire company was acquired by Google for $450M in 2012 founded a nonprofit Swisspreneur.org so as to advance entrepreneurship community through series of projects and regular video episodes, appealing to Millennial generation.

So far we can enjoy several episodes in audio or video format: with Myke Näf, the founder of Doodle, Alain Chuard himself, and Dania Gerhardt, the founder of Amazee Labs.

It is just a starting point to make Swiss economy more competitive on the global scene. Several-century old family businesses, conglomerates and renowned research institutions already exist, now it is time for the influx of tech SMEs.


2) Do we go Dutch while co-working in artistic Amsterdam?

The Netherlands has heavily embraced the shifts in new economy since 44% of its employees work part-time, in comparison to the EU average of almost 20%.

In this densely populated country, famous for tulips and windmills back in the days, the freelance job model made co-working tremendously popular.

Company Seats2Meet has over 90 locations throughout the country with inspirational meeting rooms, temporary offices and innovative workplaces, including the ones in Amsterdam. However, they set a new co-working standard: their users receive buffet lunch and free tea and coffee while in return they pay with "social capital.''

Excellent facilities and vibrant community are obtained at a small fraction of the cost, in exchange for visitors' knowledge, buzzing ideas and any other kind of value they perceive that they can possibly add.

This co-working model of ''going Dutch'' with a twist is sustainable because meeting rooms are charged. Strangely enough, silent workrooms that are rented for EUR 10 per day are occupied only once in a while, whereas almost hundred people fit together in the free work area next to it.

If we look at Amsterdam with bird's-eye view it becomes obvious that the city was ranked as ''Tier 1 Top Performer'' regarding its tech strategy.

This ranking was the result of CITIE survey, which was created in the collaboration among Accenture, the London-based business incubator Future Cities Catapult and the UK charity Nesta. In comparison to London, Berlin and Paris, Amsterdam ranked higher as the tech hub because of its agile mid size.

Furthermore, since 2014 Amsterdam has had the first ever city Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in charge of coordinating innovation projects with interested stakeholders, while in Smart City Initiatives especially young entrepreneurs are encouraged to use city infrastructure as the playing field and living lab for testing their products.

Finally, the intersection of culture and tech which is portrayed in endless museums such as Amsterdam History tour shows to visitors that the leitmotifs of entrepreneurship and perseverance may guide us even now when we observe from a new angle the worlds' first Stock Exchange, Dutch art masterpieces and Anne Frank's house, to name a few.


3) Treat yourself to Tech Retreats on Caribbean Beaches

What is your first thought when we mention the Caribbean region? Is it Jamaica's under-10-second champion Usain Bolt, Barbados babe Rhianna or Richard Branson's heaven on Necker island?

For many digital nomads, the number of sunny days throughout the year offer the uplifting optimism when running a business becomes especially tough.

Even if tech entrepreneurs decide to go a bit southern, lower costs of renting or buying await them such as the case with Costa Rica real estates.

Another factor that contributes to the popularity of the Caribbean region is the cost of living, showing that for example in Jamaica, Haiti and Grenada the goods which in the US would cost USD 1, actually cost USD 0.60.

All these secluded places with sparkling beaches are getting new mojo thanks to Caribbean entrepreneurs who believe that creating enterprises and networking get better under the sun.

This is exactly how Tech Beach Retreat community was born in Jamaica.

Jamaican entrepreneur Kirk Anthony-Hamilton, founder of The Destination Experience brand consultancy, was selected as one of 75 Emerging Global Entrepreneurs by President Obama.

He had the vision of connecting the Caribbean's tech ecosystem with the rest of the world and was recently joined by Phin Mpofu, one of 100 entrepreneurs to watch on the 2016 Maserati 100 list. Like Hamilton, Mpofu understood entrepreneurship being the Director at Startup Grind, the 400,000-member strong community of the entrepreneurs, the largest one in the world.

Then Hamilton and Mpofu recruited Kyle Maloney from Trinidad and Tobago, one of the Caribbean's most promising tech entrepreneurs in the big data space. Since three gentlemen are minorities and are passionate about diversity in the tech space, they are on the mission to inspire the rest of the world with the upcoming conference and all-year projects.

During 1-3 December the luxurious resort of Montego Bay in Jamaica will offer an immersive and all-inclusive experience, because at Tech Beach Retreat speakers, participants and media will meet free of hierarchy.

The event focuses on Exponential Growth and Impact so that participants exchange experience how it is to design business in global economies and mitigate challenges.

This is best reflected in the growing line-up of speakers including Lisa Lake, CEO of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Allison Kopf, CEO of Agrilyst - winner of Tech Crunch Disrupt NY 2016, senior executives from Salesforce, Dropbox and Singularity University.

Big data and security, artificial intelligence, the shared economy and digital currency are just some of the topics that participants will discuss, while outstanding Jamaican entertainment is also to be expected.

Hamilton emphasized team's intention to bring global ecosystem of resources to the Caribbean. ''We are welcoming participants from all over the world to join this one-of-a-kind experience and get access to this unique international community of like-minded entrepreneurs.''


4) Have a Lion's Share of Success in Entrepreneurial Asia

The booming Asian economies are under the radar of many business owners, venture capitalists and researchers. Innovative ideas and capital always seek to flow towards cultural melting pots with accessible business infrastructure.

Although the entire continent requires the careful attention of all global citizens who want to be at the forefront of innovation, it is good to start with one or several countries.

In less than forty years, so called Asian tigers have undergone extraordinary industrialization and maintained impressive growth rates (around 7 percent a year). These countries celebrated the beginning of the 21st century as the high-income countries, accelerating innovation further.

Now that we frequent Asian tigers for leisure and business, we marvel at Taiwan and South Korea which manufacture world-class IT solutions, whereas the brands of Hong Kong and Singapore are most widely recognized for financial services.

Many owners of seasonal businesses and digital nomads explore conditions for working at the island of Singapore. The first coworking space in the country called HackerspaceSG dates back to 2009 and now certainly the offer got more diverse.

Tech in Asia website has outlined the map of coworking spaces in Singapore and the good news is that the list is going to be updated regularly.

However, what drove my attention, especially because I believe that more women should pursue careers in ICT is that there is a very vibrant all-female coworking community in central Singapore. WoolfWorks is the first women-only coworking space both in Singapore and in South East Asia thanks to perseverance of hub founder Michaela Anchan and her team.

Ladies from all walks of life: coders, designers, consultants can relate to Virginia Woolf's attitudes from 1929 novel A Room of One's Own such as that women need a separate space so as to create produce art. Almost 90 years later, the co-working space named after the prolific writer continues the uplifting mission for the female generation of tech creators.

Yet apart from the labour-intense side, Singapore offers a huge number of irresistible festivals celebrating traditions of the country.

It may sound peculiar but many international companies operating on the island decide to indulge in corporate events from the glocal (global+local) perspective.

For example, lion dance is believed to bring prosperity to clients and the performers from Lion Dance Singapore troupe create the tailor-made entertainment not only during Chinese New Year, but also at company conferences, remarkable dinners and award nights.

On the website of Lion Dance Singapore you can read more about the tradition of lion dance, how to avoid lion taboos and what to do if this creature approaches you.

Certainly, many different pieces of business, tourism and entertainment puzzle position Singaporean brand uniquely on the world map.


5) Brass in Pockets as You Walk Your Way through Serbia

Although you may enjoy The Pretenders' 1979 evergreen Brass in Pockets while you dwell in Serbia and collaborate with tech workforce, it is advised that you keep your communication open, straightforward and without pretending.

Getting more bangs for buck in country's capital Belgrade has not much changed since 2014 when ADAC, Europe's largest motor club, compared 20 prices for holiday items in European cities.

With a price of around EUR 42 for goods basket Belgrade made it to the top of the list, outperforming 19 European metropolis including neighbours Zagreb, Ljubljana, Prague, and Budapest.

But although this survey benefits the middle-income tourist who is travelling independently to an unfamiliar city and takes a sightseeing tour, Belgrade is also becoming a hot-spot for innovative companies that open their offices and digital nomads that like working in places with vivid history.

In many cases tech enterprises choose Belgrade so as to outsource their activities to skillful programmers with European mentality, yet lower hourly rates and superb English with a sense of humor.

Still, as the entrepreneurship system further develops through formal and informal education, more made-in-Serbia successful enterprises should be expected in the future. These companies will follow in footsteps of Nordeus, which created the beloved Facebook game for football managers Top Eleven.

Then there is Seven Bridges whose software analyzes the world's largest genomic data software and which MIT Technology Review ranked among top 50 Smartest companies in 2016.

Or it may be possible to repeat the success of Devana's ManageWP, the multi site wordpress management tool which GoDaddy acquired, thus providing the greater access to the global market, the steeper learning curve and further development of the ecosystem.

In the country with unemployment rate of 41.7% for 15-25 age group and 33.27% for people aged 15-30, the results of Serbian ICT sector show that there is a constant demand for junior and senior professionals alike.

Only in 2015 Serbia exported EUR 678,3 million of software services and it is estimated that 30.000 programmers would be able to start working immediately for the double salary than country's average.

That is why the plan of StartIT community to educate 100.000 young leaders across 12 cities in Serbia by 2020 is complete viable and got the biggest backing in the history of regional crowd funding campaigns.

The fluctuation of Serbian educated workforce towards innovation hubs in the US, Europe in Asia should not be surprising as its two greatest inventors Nikola Tesla and Mihajlo Pupin set sails more than a century ago, built their soaring potential abroad and became members of New York high society.

When it comes to merging arts and sciences 100 years later, you may celebrate Nikola Tesla's 160th birthday in Belgrade museum and online with virtual reality headsets. Not so long ago Oatmeal pledged for building of a goddamn Tesla's museum at Wardenclyffe, so taking a pilgrimage towards the inventor region is an extraordinary option. Why not do so even in Tesla's car?

One of NASA founders, Pulitzer Prize winner and beloved Columbia University professor, Mihajlo Pupin gets his renaissance in the Historical Museum of Serbia thanks to the first-ever usage of augmented reality and alluring enthusiasm of the exhibition authors Ms Aleksandra Ninkovic Tasic and Dusica Bojic.

To experience playing hard in Serbia as well as working hard, try out brilliant festivals and night-life.

Remember the brass from the beginning of our story? Every summer you may travel across the country from EXIT, the Serbian Glastonbury on the Danube coast to the trumpet heaven in Guca.

After those occasions and the pockets full of happiness, you may just get inspired to buy a trumpet yourself and join the kings of merak sounds. Or you will continue circling on your vehicle, sometimes even wearing the motorcycle helmet as the wind tosses you forward.


As you can see technology changes the way we travel, do business and marvel arts. It brings us closer even when we are miles apart. It expands our horizons and potential more than we could ever before imagine. With this in mind, get back to this text when you need a surge of inspiration and share it with your tribe.

We get out of this life only what we put into it. And to go places and create impactful businesses ranks among the noblest kinds of existence.

Photo credits: Flickr, Incapsula, Posta.com, Trip Advisor, PinnacleWorldwide, TOB, private archive

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