Start-up and business community, EntrepreneurCountry, has gone global with the launch of affiliate networks in 13 territories across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
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EntrepreneurCountry aims to create connections between startups and corporates, with a current member base of 46,000 in the UK. It aims to raise this figure to one million in 25 territories by the end of 2014.
Julie Meyer, the founder of EntrepreneurCountry, made the announcement of EntrepreneurCountry Global at an event at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, in London.
She said: "The power of Silicon Valley has always been the community, where start-ups can find all the support, finance and customers they need to turn a great idea into a great business. But it’s not true that you have to be based there to succeed. Start-ups are flourishing all over the world, and entrepreneurial culture is alive everywhere.
“We are building a community that can become a global version of Palo Alto because of its unique ability to structure the unstructured data, which is how most corporates view early stage digital businesses.”
The regional affiliates stretch across 13 regions, include more than 464 million people, in countries such as Poland, Nigeria, South Africa and Turkey.
EntrepreneurCountry Global is supported by corporate partners, including Cisco, Dell, Santander, Grant Thornton, Pcubed, Rackspace, and Royal Bank of Canada and is backed by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).
Meyer said there are so many start-ups that all look so different and therefore are scattered: “It is becoming uneconomic for entrepreneurs and big business to find each other, and it's often very hard for them to know what they're looking at when they do. This is a problem for both sides.
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“The world needs a more efficient, structured way for these two groups to meet and that’s where EntrepreneurCountry comes in. We think we can reduce the cost of finding start-up partners for big business by a factor of ten.”
Tobie van Zyl, regional affiliate and CEO of moneysmart, in South Africa said the country is seeing its lowest entrepreneurial decline rate in four years, with early stage entrepreneurial activity declining by 7.3% from the previous year of 9.1% growth. 25% of this decline is in information technology.
“This is as a result of a lack of funding, experience, mentorship and the costs to access new customers. We're not a traditional tech hub and we have to compete with the rest of the world for attention. I'm delighted to champion EntrepreneurCountry here because it levels the playing field and gives our business equal access to a global market,” he said.
Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UK and Ireland, said Cisco decided to engaged with EntrepreneurCountry to identify those innovative new “early stage” companies: “In order for the UK to remain globally competitive, it’s vital that we create an environment in which start-up digital businesses and their ideas can flourish.”