Report: Nairobi, Cairo, Cape Town, and Lagos among the top emerging Startup ecosystems in the world.

The 2020 Global Startup Ecosystem Report has ranked Nairobi, Cairo, Cape Town and Lagos among the top 100 Emerging Ecosystems in the world.

The report released on the 25th of June, 2020 saw the four cities as the only African cities that beat the cut to make it to the list. Cairo was the highest ranked at position (51) followed by Cape Town (59), Lagos (62) as Nairobi closed the list at position (66).

The top 10 Emerging Ecosystems featured Mumbai, Jakarta, Zurich, Helsinki, Guangzhou, Barcelona, Madrid, Philadelphia, Manchester-Liverpool, and Research Triangle respectively.

The Emerging Ecosystems represent 49 countries and $348 billion in Ecosystem Value. Europe ranked highest as the leading continent for Emerging Ecosystems, with 38 cities in the list followed by North America with 32 startup ecosystems and Asia-Pacific comes in third with 22 ecosystems.

Top Ecosystems

Other than the new segment of the emerging ecosystems, the report gave an in depth analysis of the Established Startup Ecosystems.  

The top five global startup ecosystems remain the same as the 2012 ranking, although with some movement within them.

Silicon Valley maintains its position 1. New York and London are tied at position 2, Beijing is at 4, and Boston is at 5, as Tel Aviv and Los Angeles close the list with both tied at position 6.

Silicon Valley Photo: courtesy of Reuters

The report points out that these top seven ecosystems are in a league of their own and command a combined Ecosystem Value of $1.5 trillion.

Silicon Valley has maintained the status quo, ranked at position 1, a spot it has held since 2012 when the first Global Startup Ecosystems ranking was released.

Growth of R&D powerhouses

The 2020 rankings have seen the growth of many R&D powerhouses: those ecosystems growing largely building upon their strengths on research and patent production.

Tokyo (15) and Seoul (20) are the prime examples of this category, with both ecosystems scoring the maximum in the Knowledge Factor — a measure of R&D activity. Shenzhen at position (22) and Hangzhou (28) are also stated to fit this ecosystem archetype.

Rise of Asia

30% of the top ecosystems this year are coming from the Asian region, compared to 20% in 2012. Of the 11 new ecosystems that made it to the top ecosystems list, six are out of Asia-Pacific.

Notable within the list are Tokyo at position (15), Seoul (20), Shenzhen (22), and Hangzhou (home to Alibaba, at 28).

Success Factors

For the 2020 rankings specifically, a total of seven Success Factors measured were Performance, Funding, Market Reach,Talent, Connectedness, Knowledge and Infrastructure.

Covid-19 impact on the Ecosystems

Global economic crises often become extinction events for startups. The COVID-19 crisis has been no exception, and many startups across the globe remain perilously close to the edge of closing up operations.

The pandemic has caused a massive shake up not just to the global economy, but to the structure of life as well.

Jonathan Ortmans, the President of Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) notes that tough adjustments will need to be made as some business models will no longer be viable. He however states that the disruption brought about by the pandemic isn’t to be feared. It’s to be embraced.

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