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The Distinct Personality of Entrepreneurial Cities

Great universities, venture capital, and talented people are necessary, but insufficient.
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REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Mayors, economic developers, and business leaders alike all say they want one thing: more entrepreneurship. Across the country and the world, there’s been no shortage of efforts to clone the “next Silicon Valley.”

In their attempts to do just that, city leaders fixate on two things that they believe are necessary to the entrepreneurial potential of a particular place: copious amounts of venture capital, and research universities that transfer skills and technology as they spawn new companies. I see this argument time and again, and each time I’m reminded of an old insider’s joke: If you want to create another Silicon Valley, ”take one great research university. Add venture capital. Shake vigorously.”