From Lagos to Bangalore. From Mexico City to Santiago, Chile. But aspiring to be the Silicon Valley of your region, let alone the world, is much easier than achieving it. Becoming an innovation hub comes with much more than just action.
Access to education and employment, support and regulation of research projects, and foreign investment are just some of the requirements to even aspire to this goal.
But if we were to talk about a city doing the necessary work to be firmly considered the true Silicon Valley, we need to look no further than Medellin, Colombia.
The Colombian city has been on the lips of the tech world since the beginning of the last decade. In 2013 it was named the most innovative city in the world, ahead of titanic cities such as Tel Aviv and New York by the City of the Year, an award organized jointly by CitiGroup and the Wall Street Journal.
Among the reasons for this award were the integrated Metro transportation system, its environmental policy regarding the creation and adaptation of ecological zones such as the Jardín Circunvalar del Barrio 13 or Parques del Rio, and the constant formation, investment, and maintenance of museums, cultural centers, libraries, public schools and perhaps most importantly, research centers such as Ruta N.
Even more, according to Medellin’s Cooperation and Investment agency, between 2008 and 2020, the city has managed nearly 258 research projects among which $232.43 million was allocated exclusively to the technology sector.
But Medellín’s attractive qualities do not end there. Last year, the Cities Competitiveness Index ranked the capital of Antioquia for the second consecutive year as the most innovative city in the country with approximately 830 invention groups and the international publication Rest of World ranked it as one of the six most outstanding cities in information and communications technologies (ICT), being, together with Recife (Brazil), the only Latin American city.
In its development plan Medellín Futuro 2020 – 2023, it is noted that the city’s goal is to continue its efforts to be the Latin American software valley. Fulfilling the commitment with the creation of the Digital Innovation Secretariat and the high foreign investment it has received, more than 381 million dollars, thanks to the installation of large foreign companies such as Netflix and UPS.