If tech expert Paul Graham is right, all you need to build the next Silicon Valley is $600M to spend on professors to attract the talent, and quality neighborhoods to attract the investors. In his words:
“I think you only need two kinds of people to create a technology hub: rich people and nerds. The exciting thing is, all you need are the people. If you could attract a critical mass of nerds and investors to live somewhere, you could reproduce Silicon Valley. What nerds like is other nerds. Smart people will go wherever other smart people are. And in particular, to great universities. So if you want to make a silicon valley, you not only need a university, but one of the top handful in the world.”
“This sounds hard. Actually it might be easy. What attracts professors is good colleagues. So if you managed to recruit, en masse, a significant number of the best young researchers, you could create a first-rate university from nothing overnight. And you could do that for surprisingly little. If you paid 200 people hiring bonuses of $3 million apiece, you could put together a faculty that would bear comparison with any in the world. So whatever it costs to establish a mediocre university, for an additional half billion or so you could have a great one.”
Once the ‘nerds’ graduate from that premium university though, they need a neighborhood that’s interesting enough to stay open 24/7 to inspire them to create businesses out of their ideas.