Silicon Valley Program

DESTINATION OVERVIEW

Silicon Valley is the alma mater of new ventures, a hot bed for innovation and the most influential place for entrepreneurship in the world. In the age of global economic uncertainty, Silicon Valley is the engine of growth for the US economy, building revolutionary platforms for interconnected communities, instantly accessible knowledge and frictionless commerce. In many ways just like the Florentines and Venetians built Italy’s renaissance, the entrepreneurs and business of the Valley are building a new age. There are signs of a new entrepreneurial renaissance everywhere around us now. When the business landscape is changing so fast, sustainable innovation and strategy is the only way forward.  

A slender, horseshoe-shaped slice of real estate in the southern San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley is less a geographical location and more a state of mind. So-called because of its prominence in the evolution of global tech companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google, the area has become synonymous with technological innovation, inspiring the likes of design guru Steve Jobs and Tesla’s Elon Musk to change the course of history, while elevating Palo Alto’s Stanford University to its status as one of the world’s leading research institutions.

Disrupting the status quo

Silicon Valley continues to be the centre of tech-based innovation; the cutting-edge digital developments that enabled start-ups to rapidly grow into global brands are providing a new generation of companies with fresh opportunities to challenge the status quo. Far from slowing in scope and ambition, advancements in technology are causing ripples across formerly traditional businesses.

A revolution in infrastructure and in artificial intelligence (AI) – is opening up industries such as logistics, food and hospitality to completely new ways of operating. So-called ‘disruptors’ like Airbnb and Uber have rocked the foundations of established operators by taking a radical approach to connecting customers with services – something that’s made possible only through technologies that enable a more fluid approach to traditional transactions.

A hub for entrepreneurs

The entrepreneurial model that has gained traction in Silicon Valley has become a blueprint for businesses across the world. This agile approach enables companies to adapt their products and services to new markets and to anticipate changes rather than to react to developments as and when they occur. This process of agile and continuous improvement is a start-up mentality that many large businesses are now rushing to emulate in order to stay relevant. 

Interestingly, many Silicon Valley companies share a belief in the value of establishing and nurturing an entrepreneurial culture that attracts like-minded employees and benefits the business and encourages disruption. Early-stage venture capital fund Pear has helped to seed tech start-ups like Dropbox and Zoosk, while Silicon Valley Bank tailors financial services to innovators. 500 Startups sources capital for tech, SaaS and Fintech projects. Start-ups that need a place to work can get the support they need at co-working facility RocketSpace. Companies like Kiva – headquartered in San Francisco - sources crowd-funded micro-loans that can change the lives of people in impoverished areas of the world.