Commentary

For a new form of city partnership

Old school city partnerships are a result of something. Nobody knows it any more. It typically entails business and public sector delegates mingling occasionally by making visits. But that is a bit old-school and zero value-add nowawadays. Or at least, low ROI, if you want to put it more politically correct in a business-focused way. But. Again, outdated.

Just as an hypothesis. What if …

You created city-partnerships that include having discounts for entrepreneurs flying or taking trains in between these cities. Having executives of pre-revenue start-ups easily flying between key ecosystem hubs in Europe would be a massive advantage of building a critical mass of sufficient idea exchange. I mean, being in Frankfurt, what are the possibilities to fly to Lissabon – highly interested in attracting start-ups -, to Paris – focused on AI and FinTech Talent post-Brexit – Amsterdam – also competing for Brexit talent, but less defined -, Munich – could have a re-fresher in young talent, but lacks affordable housing projects -, Berlin – well, the airport issue -, Rome – nobody ranks Rome high, but hey, it’s a great city – Barcelona – sorry, Madrid, but Barcelona wins on all aspects, you are fools to have the capital in Madrid -, Istanbul – believe it or not, but those guys are hustling, too -, Denmark – I heard quite a good collaboration between university and state programs -, Stockholm – somehow Sweden appears on the map thanks to a or some unicorns.

I mean, it is a pity to have regionalism even intra-state such as in Germany where local states compete over tax returns and build their own ecosystems, but it is a pitty to have intra-European air travel be in the way of having dispersed ecosystems appearing.

And subsidiesing entrepreneurial air-fare is just one thing. If you throw all that regionalism and interest systems around national parties, local tax budgets and d*** comparisons between nations aside, and you follow the idea that it is cities and their networks that regulate the growth of the global economy, you should understand that after the emancipation of corporations and private legal entitites from the regionalism of political control on externalities and growth, cities are the next in line to (ab)use their power to build post-state networks. And starting to connect networks in isolated cities is one first step to go.

Of course, you can foster city political delegations to mingle and connect, or students and “pupils”/high school students exchanging for reminiscing the past of nation states – magnifying a 100 – 200 year period over a thousand year history in the region where cities also played a dominant role , but you can also focus on the highest ROI investment in these partnerships which are the facto the movers and shakers that create the next generation of social organizations – be it start-ups, identity-focused movements, interest groups. Etc.

From that view, it seems natural to use tax breaks for a particular region to attract start-ups. Talent attrition once lured into one region and making a company successful is a pain for a start-up. If you are one of the 10% that made it and attracted talent to make it, why would you relocate and give up that exact talent. So tax-breaks do pay off. But is that the highest ROI equation? Because not a single region in Europe will supply the human resources in all its complementarism and diversity required to build truly successful companies of and at massive scale. Every region and city has its pitfalls. Why not use the advancement of travel to build integrated, but comparatively advantaged hubs and participate from the structure? You can still fight over who can host the head quarters and gets the taxable income later. First, create big companies. Then think about interest conflicts on taxation.

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