GEC Cities Forum to Examine Urban Ecosystems
26 Feb 2015

A few weeks ago, Buenos Aires, Argentina was announced as the winner of the GEC Cities Challenge. In addition to a representative from the Buenos Aires mayoral office presenting at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, special attention will be paid to the insights from several of the runners-up of the GEC Cities Challenge:

  • Yerevan, Armenia
  • Genk, Belgium
  • Kansas City, United States

With the Entrepreneurial Cities Forum on Tuesday, March 17, a focus will be placed on “New Urban Ecosystems for 3.0 Talent.” The event will delve into the challenges that cities face in boosting entrepreneurship and leveraging talent and local assets.

During the first part, “Urban entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world,” representatives from the four runner-up cities from the GEC Cities Challenge will present how they succeeded in equipping their cities with a modern and attractive ecosystem and share the valuable insights they have about their respective ecosystems.

Mayor Wim Dries of Genk, for example will share how council policies allowed Genk to attract new entrepreneurs in various sectors. “Entrepreneurship has become a part of the city’s DNA. Apart from advantages with regard to the availability of well-equipped industrial areas, multi-modal accessibility via freeways, rail and the Albert Canal, the business policies of the city are drawing the attention of entrepreneurs, knowledge-based industries and employers’ organizations,” explained Mayor Dries in the city’s application materials.

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, will also be represented at the event. Being one of oldest cities in the world, Yerevan has developed a unique entrepreneurial culture that evolved over the centuries rather than died off despite various tragic events such as the Armenian Genocide, the Soviet occupation, a massive earthquake, a war and an economic blockade. Yerevan will share key steps policymakers have taken towards the revival and strengthening of the ecosystem throughout the city’s history, including engaging the Armenian Diaspora as mentors and investors.

Kansas City also has much to boast about to the global entrepreneurship community in terms of infrastructure and entrepreneurial culture. Most notably, it has successfully engaged entrepreneurs by facilitating Google Fiber's deployment in the city. As a result, the Kansas City Startup Village sprang up around one of the first neighborhoods in Kansas City to get Google’s superfast internet. Many entrepreneurs went to Kansas City for gigabit speed and stayed for the vibrant entrepreneurial community has evolved organically. Mayor Pro Tempore Cynthia Circo of Kansas City, will speak about these innovations as well as progress made on the regulatory front.

With the second portion of the forum, “Challenge based approach for next generation of urban ecosystems,” the discussion will elaborate on topics related to challenges posed by the international dimension, the speed of transformation, the availability of business (soft and hard) and social (housing, kindergartens, incentives for young couples, etc.) infrastructure. The four city leaders will interact with Benedetta Arese Lucini, Uber's regional co-manager for Europe, who has much to say about the disruptions that innovative entrepreneurs bring to cities.

Image Source: History of Armenia Wikipedia Page