In mid-February of this year, a delegation, led by the mayor of Surabaya, Indonesia embarked on a mission of discovery to Silicon Valley. Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia with over 30 universities and 5 million daytime residents. The city has a strong foundation for learning and growth and the necessary backbone to become a regional technology hub.
With Mayor Tri Rismaharini, or “Ibu Risma” as she is affectionately called, at the helm, the city has seen tremendous growth and has reason to be optimistic about its trajectory. Risma is a hands on mayor, known for her ability to both strategically plan for the city’s future and direct traffic during jams. As part of her vision for the future the mayor has funneled nearly 35% of the city’s budget to help educate the underprivileged children. Her impact on the economy has been a highlight of her tenure as she improved ports and the associated economies.The mayor and the city leaders are now focused on building Surabaya into the entrepreneurial hub of Indonesia.
Our team had an opportunity to interact with the delegation from Surabaya wwhen they met at Stanford with Dr. Richard Dasher, Director of Stanford’s US-Asia Technology Management Center. Dr. Dasher is also a professor at the school of Departments of Electrical Engineering (technology management), Asian Languages and Cultures (Japanese business), and at the Asia-Pacific Research Center. He also is an advisor to the student groups, Asia-Pacific Student Entrepreneurship Society and the Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford. Given his extensive experience consulting and working in Asia, the delegation from Indonesia was very interested in learning from Dr. Dasher and hearing his insights on landscape of Silicon Valley-from its genesis to the landmark it’s become.
In the meeting, Risma announced her intentions to create and build a technology community in her city through fostering relationships within the Silicon Valley network. Risma also shared that “Several CEOs, such as those from Google, Intel, Facebook and Instagram will come to Surabaya,” as a part of her vision for a conference to be held in August 2017 in Surabaya. The mayor wants to encourage local entrepreneurship, growing partnerships with technology companies, and explore opportunities for entrepreneurship development in the local universities.
From Dr. Dasher, the team from Surabaya sought to learn more about the structure of universities and the role it plays in innovation and entrepreneurship. Dasher elaborated on the role of government in supporting university research, and the impact that those grants have had on the technology revolution. In addition, representation from local universities and entrepreneurship movements were present, driving the conversation around best practices to foster innovation and technology startup ecosystem.
Armed with new knowledge about the structure of entrepreneurship and innovation from Silicon Valley, the group from Surabaya is well equipped to blaze a new path forward in their own city. Surabaya might not yet be any one’s first thought of startup capitals in Asia, but expect that to change soon. We will keep you posted!