17 participants from 15 countries met to work on universal strategy for startup ecosystems development in Central and Eastern Europe.

Last weekend we had an unforgettable opportunity to join the outstanding team of The Changers Challenge, a group of 17 community leaders and startup activists from 15 countries from all over the world. The group has been carefully chosen by Anca Albu, Social Innovation Architect focused on post-communist entrepreneurial ecosystems and the way cross-sector collaboration and shared values can create a collective impact in the East-Central European region.

The goal was to “build a roadmap for the activities that need to be created to achieve a healthy entrepreneurial environment, leading to the development of a knowledge based society that advances rapidly through technology and entrepreneurship.” – Anca Albu, The Changers.

And indeed, organisers did a pretty amazing job. We had been sent to an eco-resort in Butuceni located 60km from the capital city of Moldova, Chisinau. That was the best way to drag a group of tech focused people from their comfort zone to improve their creativity and focus on problem solving.

Representatives of startup ecosystems in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chile, Denmark, Georgia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine and USA spent 72 hours in a small village surrounded by nature, with super slow wireless and a bunch of very difficult questions to be answered. With a series of workshops prepared especially for this purpose, we tried to find out why some regions boom while others sleep, why some policies help innovation development and some kill the spirit of entrepreneurship, what are the ingredients which have to be mixed in order to obtain a stable tech entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Of course one weekend is not enough to generate the universal strategy for all emerging markets, however by taking Moldova as a case study we managed to create a set of recommendations for the local government. We believe that their implementation will help to boost the Moldovan startup industry and bring a lot to tech community building attempts.

The results of our work are going to be presented to the wider audience, including the government of Moldova, at Moldova ICT Summit this week. We send special thanks to USAID Competitiveness Project for making the Changers Challenge possible by providing the necessary resource – financing.

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As this was the first Changers Challenge, you may want to follow the leaders taking part in building this new approach to economy problems solving in emerging markets.

Please find the names of all of us linked to LinkedIn below. Feel free to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or any other social media you will find us.

Anca Albu, Nail Vali, Anastasiya Bardunova,Armin Konjalic, Chris Georgiev, Catalina Bräuchle, Giorgi Kintsurashvili, Dovydas Varkulevicius, Eva Piperevska, Dash Dhakshinamoorthy, Traian Chivriga, Eliza Kruczkowska, Agata Kukwa, Adrian Pica, Vukašin Stojkov, Petra Dzurovcinova, Nikolay Savin, Anna Petrova.