The Global Entrepreneurship Congress provides an unparalleled platform for the mix of policymakers, investors, educators, researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to come together to share ideas and develop opportunity. However, it is also a change for a city, once viewed through the lens of its violent past, to showcase its capabilities to develop its own future reflecting the desire of the people to fight for reconciliation and completely re-brand the city.
Cecilia Alvarez-Correa, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism of Columbia, proudly introduced Medellín during her opening remarks, highlighting the Wall Street Journal and Citigroup’s recognition of “Most Innovative City” in 2014. Even with my very limited Spanish, the passion, pride and enthusiasm is clearly portrayed – emotion and passion that bypasses language barriers. Similarly, listing Medellín along side Dubai, Shanghai, Liverpool and other host cities, the city can firmly place itself firmly on the world stage and celebrate its re-birth.
What’s interesting to observe is the collective weight that this type of view now holds. This view is welcomed by the audience and supported the now prominent collective desire to improve the future and generate opportunities.
Jonathon Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Network, explained Medellín is in a unique opportunity to be able to “improve the economic environment for all citizens” through generating social value and tapping the creative resources of its people.
What’s exiting for this economy, and yet to be replicated by others, is that Colombia has established, in 2012, an entire platform to smooth out the path from startup to growth, and this is an ingredient that can truly underpin this developing economic eco-system. With only 22 percent of the country’s productive capacity maximized, the possibilities moving forward are truly exciting and I am looking forward to learning about how the city can spearhead, catalyze and leverage this.
Dom Keogh is a student with the University of Sheffield and is reporting on the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Medellín, Colombia.