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The 6 Best Startup Cities For MBA Entrepreneurs—Outside Silicon Valley

Business schools are fueling the growth of global startup scenes to challenge San Francisco’s Silicon Valley

Mon Oct 16 2017

Silicon Valley has long been the king for startups, but a number of eminent princes are now staking their claim to the throne.

The amalgamation of global corporations, entrepreneurs, and burgeoning startups housed in San Francisco’s innovation hub has made it a force to be reckoned with.

And indeed, the reputation is warranted—California is home to Apple, Google, and Facebook, whose combined annual revenues total $332 billion.

However, more recently, other global cities have started nurturing their own entrepreneurial supply lines. Innovative schemes like NYU Stern’s Creative Destructive Lab (CDL)—to be established in partnership with the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management—are starting to challenge the status quo.

CDL-New York City (NYC) will support the commercialization of early-stage science and technology startups. It’s a sign that New York is among a swathe of cities changing the idea of Silicon Valley as the be-all-and-end-all for startup culture.

Here are six of the best startup cities for MBA entrepreneurs—outside Silicon Valley:

1. New York

new york

The CDL-NYC focuses on maximizing the value for science and technology startups by pinpointing VC funding for the MBA curriculum. CDL Toronto, where the model has pioneered, has generated more than $1 billion of equity value in the five years since its founding.

“For successful high-tech entrepreneurship in a region, two things are essential,” says professor of management at NYU Stern, Deepak Hegde.

“First, you need a constant supply of science and technology-based ideas. Second, you need to access capital to transform these ideas into commercially viable businesses.

“If you look at the variety of indicators of the availability of science-based ideas, such as the number of world-class research institutions, post-graduate degrees awarded in life sciences, or the number of patents, the greater New York City region ranks at the very top or close to the top in the nation. NYC is also the nation’s financial center and a thriving hub for a variety of investors.”

The founding of the first CDL in the US signals NYU Stern’s commitment to expanding New York’s existing infrastructure, to modernize its entrepreneurship education sphere, and to nurturing the next generation of tech startups.

What’s more, London City University’s Cass Business School recently teamed up with the New York Institute of Finance (NYIF), offering a program that equips students with the finance and fintech skills essential for the future of finance. 

2. Berlin


In the first half of 2017, a report by EY stated 44% of all venture capital investment deals happened in Berlin, totaling $1.48 billion. The city is also home to the aptly named ‘Silicon Allee’, a campus community founded for entrepreneurs. Monthly networking and coffee events are held for the array of VC’s, startups, and entrepreneurs who reside there.

Local business school ESMT Berlin specializes in tech management and has its own entrepreneurship club. With full-time MBA classes being 95% international as well, there is plenty of scope to broaden your horizons in a truly diverse setting. ESCP Europe also has a campus in Berlin, with expertize in digital innovation. 

3. Amsterdam


StartupAmsterdam, the nucleus of the city’s growing startup and tech scene, allows members to peruse co-working spaces, connect with investors, and browse the latest jobs. Situated at the heart of the community are 16 startup academies, who offer on-the-job learning, and promise to make you a startup star.

Among them is a coding academy, Codaisseur, whose mission is to bridge the gap between companies and developers. Elsewhere, DELITELABS targets aspiring entrepreneurs and aids them in discovering their innovative spark. A final example is the Analytics Academy who, you guessed it, specializes in the education of data science and business analytics—their ambition is to ensure you’re big data ready.

StartupAmsterdam’s corporate network includes representatives from companies such as Philips and Microsoft. These same companies hire MBA grads from Nyenrode Business Universiteit , which has recently relocated its full-time MBA to the heart of Amsterdam.



Paris is home to rare European unicorn BlaBlaCar—a ridesharing startup valued at $1.4 billion. And founders Frédéric Mazzella and Nicolas Brusson are now angel investors, encouraging the next generation of young, energetic French entrepreneurs.

The city has also seen the opening of Station F, a 34,000 sq meter startup campus in the city’s 13th arrondissement. It is the brainchild of French telecoms billionaire, Xavier Niel, and will cultivate startups and lure investment for years to come.

Already, HEC Paris' Incubator scheme—part of its entrepreneurship center—has relocated its 73 startups to the mega magnet of French innovation. EDHEC Business School has also transitioned its EDHEC Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) program into Station F. 

5. Copenhagen


The Copenhagen Business School’s (CBS) School of Entrepreneurship is the largest incubator in Denmark, where approximately 80 startup companies are based.

#CPHFTW, “Copenhagen For The Win”, the non-profit grassroots initiative that aims to enhance Copenhagen’s startup ecosystem, has thus far assembled over 400 tech companies in Denmark. Among them are analytics company Blackwood Seven, finance company Bitcoin Nordic, and security firm Access Security.  

6. Shanghai


Home to China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Shanghai is fertile ground for the sowing of startups.

Since inception, Chinaccelerator has propelled over 120 companies to Chinese and global prominence. Also based in Shanghai, Mailman Group, a sports marketing and investment firm that launched Liverpool FC on Chinese social media, has an internal incubator scheme that promotes small-scale and entry-level startups.

Student Reviews

Bayes Business School




On Campus

Best Journalism school in Europe

When I first stepped onto the campus of City, University of London, I knew I was in for a ride - and not just on the Tube! With its vibrant energy and an impressive repertoire of programs, City U became my home away from home. The Journalism program was kind of a big deal. Rumour was that we were the best in Europe! The lecturers were not just experts in their field; they’re practically journalistic royalty. They were invested, passionate, and had a knack for turning the most flat press release into a riveting news story. With their guidance, I’ve learned to navigate the chaotic world of media like a pro. The campus was a melting pot of every culture, being that we had such a diverse international crowd. Being in the heart of London, I had the world at my fingertips - there was always a new corner to explore, a hidden gem of a cafe to discover, or a street performer! City, University of London wasn't just a university; it was a chapter in my life story that I’ll never forget.




On Campus

Learning environment

The teacher-learner ration is manageable, giving each learner a chance to gain personal attention. It is also easier following up on the progress of a student, as the numbers per class is not large. the conducive environment for learning includes clean classes, standard desks, world class instructional facilities and the opportunity to engage lecturers even after their sessions. The team spirit at City is above board, with learners getting chance to learn both from instructors and colleagues. This is the university of choice; the place to be.




On Campus


I liked that each class had a manageable number of learners, making the professor-learner ratio favor knowledge acquisition. I also liked that study schedules were manageable, and not overwhelming. The focus on talents and gifts even within the learning environment makes it possible for learners to achieve the best of their potential, and this has worked to the advantage of those that have schooled at City, University of London




On Campus


The diversity at City University facilitates interactions and is a direction toward the unity of the world. The classes are well built to match the number and needs of all students regardless of the elements of diversity that set people apart. The use of technology in delivery makes learning even more interesting and achievable. At City University there is no distinction pegged on the issues that make people unique.




On Campus


The team of lecturers at the Uiversity are well experienced. Their level of insight and the methodologies of delivery works for the interes of the leaeners. My learning experience was largely boosted by the level of knowledge of the professors at the institution, and their passion to transfer the same to learners. I appreciate every class I attended because of the level of insight I was able to gather




On Campus

The best university I’ve been to

The campus and the people I've met have made it a wonderful experience. I was reared in a small town with a graduating class of only 88 individuals, so moving to City University was a huge adjustment for me. My dorm has more residents than my whole high school combined! I enjoy the atmosphere here, and everyone is so friendly. Outstanding academic options and a stunning campus. Really great from beginning to end. The educators genuinely love what they do, and the students are ready to learn. On or around college, there is always something to do with friends, and the social scene is particularly warm.




On Campus

Bayes Business School

As a student at City university attending Bayes Business School I would totally recommend choosing this university as the experience is exceptional with great social networking opportunities . Professors are significantly helpful, delivering with excellence and professionalism. Everyone is happy to help and make you feel welcomed in such an esteem university as City, offering exceptional development and guidance through out the course.




On Campus

Economics and Politics

Incredibly amazing university, the way they polish students and help them boost their morale and think intellectually is worthwhile. Many universities have international partnerships to allow exchanges between their students. The most obvious subjects for these opportunities would be those that involve languages, and the study of people and places.




On Campus

Clinical biology

I really like it it’s perfect for me with not too many people and not too few either. All the modules are amazing. I love the toy bar. I love all the societies that I’ma part of. Especially the colour Bollywood society