Pune (India), 21st August 2021: An Indian American Dr Tausif Malik from Pune who resides in Chicago (USA) has launched Startup Villages, World’s 1st Village Startup Ecosystem to promote villages in Italy and Japan as an ideal destination for startups and sustainable development.
The Startup Villages ecosystem has the following:
• Events & Meet-ups
• Incubation & Acceleration
• Research & Development
• Programs Investors
Dr Malik, founder of Startup Villages, says, “It was summer of 2008 when I read CNN report that Italian villages launched an initiative to sell properties at 1$ an incentive to repopulate the dying Italian villages. Approximately 7600 Italian villages started offering the same scheme to invite new residents. Many people bought and refurbished the homes they purchased in these Italian villages, but guess what majority of them were holidays homes and this didn’t trigger economic activity. Hence, I started toying with the idea of creating an economic system and blending my knowledge of Reverse Migration with the Italian villages and thus the idea of Startup Villages, I started documenting.”
In 2020, Dr Malik met Stefano and Karim, founders of Omar Business Development, Italy and they signed a strategic partnership for Halal Angels Network (Angel network established to tap the 5 Trillion USD Halal consumer market). As confidence grew, Malik proposed Startup Villages with them and they were all excited. They agreed to start pitching the Startup Villages idea to the Mayors of villages in Italy; that instead of selling houses to holiday-makers, let’s pitch and sell to startups.
Italian villages offer beautiful landscape, pollution-free, no traffic, access to the European market, and North African market, cost-effective, and most important more leisure time with family & friends.
Karim and Stefano said that “Our villages are our heritage and pride, and through this program, we would take our villages into the future with sustainable and holistic development.
The Startup Villages program would create a sustainable ecosystem and environment for the economic development of the villages in Italy. It will retain talent, create a better sustainable economic environment and promote the villages not only as a holiday but a strong economic centre. The best thing about Italy is the weather, the friendly culture, food, fashion, infrastructure; you get the best of the developed country.
We feel along with selling homes, the villages can also pitch to investors, startups and entrepreneurs and this would create a sustainable economic environment. Startup Villages would be a game-changer to promote reverse migration, and generate economic activity in rural Italy but globally.”
Karim, Stefano and Malik approached few Mayors of Villages and they got a tremendous response from them. Hence, they decided to create a massive awareness program to target the 7600 + villages, invite the Mayors of the villages, startups and investors for a webinar to explain the benefits and advantages of the Startup Villages program.
Stefano, Karim and Malik said this would be of its kind webinars and never ever, so many Mayors were invited for this kind of initiative.
Malik and his team were also researching for other locations, which can also be leveraged to attract startups and entrepreneurs. Malik proposed this idea to his Japanese strategic partner Taisuke Alex Odajima founder, EDGEof INNOATION. Alex said that this is a fantastic idea and there are a lot of Japanese villages going through similar problems of depopulation of villages.
Taisuke Alex Odajima, the founder said that “The concentration of population in urban areas is not a problem unique to Japan. In many countries, rural areas losing population are facing financial aggravation, houses getting abandoned and deterioration of living infrastructures. The Startup Village Project aims to create a global platform connecting these rural areas all around the world and make them a new basecamp for startups”.
Alex concluded by saying this “With sustainability and ethical economy at the core of our vision, we will build a worldwide network of investors, large corporations, and local governments to support startups moving into these Startup Villages. Such a platform will create a new type of economy in the rural areas where startups not only benefit from low rent and living costs but also can continue to grow like in big cities. By joining the Startup Village network, we believe local governments in Japan will also be able to promote the migration of young people who aspire to start their own businesses and explore a different approach to regional revitalization”.
The advantages for the villages:
• Creates a new brand image for villages
• First-time villages to promote as a startup hub
• Startups get investments
• Startups generate economic activity
• Creates employment
• Attracts news residents and organisations
• Incentives the rural youth to stay back at home
• Generates revenues & taxes
• Generates positive media and public relations
In 2018, Malik had established a Crypto mining training program (Bitcoin training program) based on his theory of reverse migration, where youth from Indian villages would be trained in association with Dalit Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry and would be offered crypto mining rigs. This would create a sustainable economic environment in the villages of India and make India the largest crypto mining hub in the world. But, due to policy initiatives, this program was shelved.
The COVID-19 pandemic proved Dr Tausif Malik’s theory of Reverse Migration that works from home is the new normal and individuals and organizations can benefit from the work from home.