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

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.



Leave a comment.

Please Enter the Code Below