Tuesday, March 14
15:00 to 16:50
Sandton Convention Centre - Ballroom 1 Level 2

Malavika Kumaran's PPT:

Jarmo Eskelinen's PPT:

Led by the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network 


Cities around the world are experiencing explosive growth – by 2050 70% of the global population will live in cities – at the same time that new technologies are unlocking massive streams of information.  As cities transform, how can we build them into thriving innovative civic laboratories where the forces of urbanization and digitalization collide and new urban entrepreneurs adapt these technologies into products and services that improve global well-being.

Moderating this session are two world leading experts working at the intersection of innovation and human development.

Victor Hwang, the Vice President for Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation and co-founder of T2 Venture Creation and Liquidity Corp, is the author of The Rainforest.  This groundbreaking and award winning book offers a radical theory for explaining the nature of entrepreneurial ecosystems as human networks that generate extraordinary creativity and output.  Challenging the basic assumptions of the economic mainstream, he explains how successful ecosystems thrive when certain cultural behaviors unlock human potential – much like the mysterious mechanisms of vibrant rainforests.  He also provides practical tools for designing, building, and sustaining new innovation ecosystems.

Jarmo Eskelinen is the Chief Innovation and Technology Officer at Future Cities Catapult, which advises city leaders on designing strategies for building and renewing infrastructure by integrating a wide array of technologies.  In his work, he has come up against three challenges: legacy infrastructure and institutions, speed (lack of broadband), and readiness (for planning and maintaining smart cities).  During the session, he will share his experience finding solutions by engaging businesses, universities and city leaders, analyzing data to model and visualize city problems, and running on-the-ground demonstrators that test new approaches and working prototypes in real urban environments.

JF Gauthier, the CEO of Startup Genome, an organization that works with governments all over the world to accelerate the growth of their startup ecosystems through evidence-based policymaking. Based on the voice of 10,000+ entrepreneurs, 300 local partner organizations and with more than 40 member cities, Startup Genome has built the largest multi-year research on what fuels the growth of startup ecosystems. JF authored the 2016 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, to be launched in early 2017. Most recently he was COO for Compass, the leading benchmarking solution for ecommerce merchants.

Ken Krullthe founder of Quatere, and Malavika Kumaran, a Senior Associate at MaRS Data Catalyst, will present their approaches to assessing cities' entrepreneurial performance.

Phil Auerswald will facilitate audience participation during the session, which will be geared toward learning everyone’s ideas about the challenges and solutions for developing future cities.  By crowdsourcing possible new joint studies, GERN seeks to improve everyone’s understanding of what works for building the vibrant entrepreneurial cities of tomorrow.


Philip Auerswald
Global Entrepreneurship Research Network (GERN)

United States

Speaker Bios: 
Jarmo Eskelinen
Future Cities Catapult

United Kingdom

JF Gauthier
Startup Genome

United States

Victor Hwang
Kauffman Foundation

United States

Malavika Kumaran
MaRS Data Catalyst


Ken Krull