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Thinking Innovation? Think Emerging Markets

InnovationWhen someone says ‘innovation’, we instinctively think ‘Silicon Valley’, or perhaps ‘London’, ‘Berlin’, ‘Stockholm’, ‘Tel Aviv’.

Rarely do we consider the vast amounts of creative energy re-shaping economies and driving growth in the developing world.

On March 3rd 2016, over 55 startups from emerging tech hubs globally will compete at Seedstars Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, for equity investment of up to $1 million.

Last week I caught up with Alisée de Tonnac, Co-founder and CEO of Seedstars World, to talk about her entrepreneurial journey and the key startup trends in emerging markets. You can listen to our conversation above.

Alisée is a brilliant speaker on entrepreneurship, startup culture, tech trends and disruption in growth markets, as well as diversity issues in business.

If you’d like more information on how to book her for your event, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Emerging markets are entering “a slow growth era” warns James Kynge

James Kynge speakerOn the front cover of today’s Financial Times (FT), James Kynge, the FT’s Emerging Markets Editor, and Chris Giles, the FT’s Economics Editor, warned that global growth is being threatened by “a slow growth era” in emerging markets (EM), its lowest ebb since the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Data from 19 large emerging economies collated by research firm Capital Economics show that industrial output in August and consumer spending in the second quarter fell to their lowest levels since 2009. Export growth in August also plunged. James commented that such concerns were “due to a combination of China’s fading dynamism, a sputtering performance in eastern Europe and Latin America’s slowdown.”

Whilst emerging Asia remains the most resilient of the large EM areas, George Magnus, senior adviser to UBS and former chief economist, said: “It is now clear that the exceptional acceleration in emerging market growth between 2006 and 2012 is over,” noting that the IMF has revised downward its forecasts for EM growth on six occasions since late 2011.

Click here to read the full story.

To find out more about these speakers, or to book either James Kynge or George Magnus as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

Ian Bremmer, a leading speaker on global risk, reviews lessons learnt from emerging markets

Ian Bremmer speaker

Ian Bremmer, an acclaimed author, speaker and expert on global risk, discussed the “rise of the rest” in the New Statesmen, asking what emerging markets can tell us about the world today.

Ian describes how emerging markets have become a lifeline for the global economy, as they are expected to continue to emerge, providing much-needed global growth and leadership. However, Ian notes that “they are struggling through severe growing pains, and for many of them the pain outweighs the gain.”

“Not so long ago, Brazil and Turkey were considered best-in-class developing countries. Russia’s interventions in Ukraine have driven its economy into a tailspin, but Mexico, despite slowing growth, continues its march towards developed-world status. Finally, China’s uncertain future provides the world’s most important question mark.”

So why did these countries rise together, and why are they now heading in such different directions? Ian believes that “given that developing countries face vastly different challenges with vastly different capacities to respond, we must stop thinking of them as members of a single club.” He goes on to look closely at the stories of Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, Turkey and China, to elucidate why some economies are faltering in “the rise of the rest.”

Click here to read the full article.

To find out more about Ian Bremmer, or to book him as a speaker, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

Ravi Venkatesan: “India will teach you to be successful in emerging markets”

Check out this insightful Q&A with Ravi Venkatsean, a widely-respected business leader and former Chairman of Microsoft India, who spoke to India Ink about why multinational companies have no choice but to come to India, and what some are getting wrong when investing in this emerging market. Such thinking is in tune with Mr Modi’s, a popular prime minister candidate for India, whose economic policies focus on encouraging growth, helping business and reducing the size of government.

A passionate advocate for doing business in India, Ravi is currently a Venture Partner at Unitus Seed Fund, which invests in early stage social enterprises.

Click here for the full article.

Political Risk in Frontier Markets: Exclusive Q&A with Jonathan Berman

Jonathan BermanIn an exclusive Q&A for ATG|Chartwell’s quarterly INSIGHT magazineJonathan Berman, a leading analyst on the strategic & operational challenges in Frontier Markets, talks opportunities and emerging market politics.

Many see growth in frontier markets but are concerned about corrupt government or just dysfunctional governments. Are they right to be worried?
They’re right to consider it. For some, the remedy is to build an effective relationship with government. An effective relationship with most frontier market government begins with understanding the demands on them. In many cases, the government is not fully equipped to respond to those demands, and they’re open to help. That’s an opportunity for companies and investors. GE and IBM are two big companies doing that well today, and building political capital as a result. Even a consumer goods companies like Unilever, which has little government business, has a well-defined view on big public needs in emerging markets, and that helps drive the significant earnings they enjoy in frontier markets. Companies shouldn’t displace government in these countries, but they should become more active partners with government.

Some markets which were highly touted last year are in turmoil now. How should I think about instability and political risk?
The companies and investors doing well in frontier markets discern long term opportunity through the fog of short-term political or even military turmoil. Nigeria’s a good example. With a violent Moslem movement in the North and dramatic tensions in the ruling class, Nigeria is repeatedly described in the media as “on the brink”. That’s true, but not much of a risk. The brink is where Nigerian politics resides. Most political deals don’t happen until everyone is facing an apocalypse (commercial deals run a bit smoother). Meanwhile, rapid growth goes forward in sectors from agribusiness to retail. The investor who can discern that habit from an actual crisis can find significant opportunities.

Are political connections necessary to succeed in frontier markets?
Political wisdom is necessary. Political connections are useful but not always necessary. I talked about this recently with one of the most successful private equity investors in frontier markets, who’s also a friend. Any deal that relies on political relations is a red flag for him, if only because it’s a risk he can’t calculate. Are there some people getting rich on contacts? Sure, but it’s not much of a business model. For investors, it’s more important to understand the political dynamics influencing an investment. For operating companies, it’s more valuable to engage with politicians to solve big problems.

What affect is the internet having on emerging markets politics that I haven’t heard already?
In Egypt and elsewhere, we’ve all seen that social media connects the population, in ways that can threaten governments. What you hear less about is the commercial opportunity in deploying social media and digital to help governments meet their populations’ demands. A lot of governments see the Arab Spring and realize they need to get ahead of that trend. They are using social media to learn what constituents want. It’s often the first time they’ve had to do that. They are also using data rich solutions to deliver it. Kenya relieved traffic in its capital using little more than ten cameras and a good algorithm. Imagine what they could do with more.

For information on Jonathan’s speaking availability, please contact our Head of Research, Huw Diprose, at or call +44 (0) 207 792 3002

Click here for more exclusive articles from INSIGHT.

Watch Jim O’Neill and Jean-Claude Trichet at the World Economic Forum in Davos

Lippo Group,  a major Indonesian conglomerate, and Jakarta Globe, a daily English language newspaper in Indonesia, organised a lunch dialogue produced by our new partner, Salween Group, which examined the new realities and challenges facing emerging markets. The program was filmed in Davos at the World Economic Forum earlier this year.

The program featured Jim O’Neill, Former Chairman Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the ECB (2003-11), Mahendra Siregar, Chairman, Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, and Gita Wirjawan, Former Trade Minister of Indonesia and current Presidential Candidate.

Click here for the full program.

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