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Trailblazing Builders Find a Caribbean Launchpad Through Próspera
February 19, 2023
In this age of technological innovation, builders of the world are exploring new paradigms for finance, social communities, and other frontiers in the digital world. Remote work and decentralization have opened the doors to more freedom of movement and lifestyle options, but there’s also a growing desire for a physical location where these trailblazers can congregate within a community that shares their values. Beyond the good vibes, the place should actually enhance their chances of success.
A private city and special economic zone on Roatan Island in Honduras presents a worthy base consideration for such operations. Próspera’s flagship city, St. John’s Bay, is a growing community of builders empowered by technological innovations and supportive governance. It’s a Caribbean hub where builders from the digital economy converge with those in the physical world to craft a next-gen city that shares the values of freedom and maximized prosperity.
The E-Residency program
The E-Residency program is the first step for many on the journey into Próspera. For a small fee, individuals can become residents and gain access to the entire platform of services, where they can then register a business, manage their legal entities and regulatory compliance, and generally navigate their governance needs in one place. While e-residents often initially come for the low taxes and regulations, they stay for the growing sense of community.
Within the Próspera community, the chance to build a city around people’s ideals is one of the themes that makes it more of a shared mission rather than a decision made solely for jurisdictional advantages. This frontier city, with many first-world comforts, offers a unique opportunity because there are so many different fields where 21st-century pioneers can be the first to plant their flag and set the standard.
E-residents can even help shape the future of their particular industry with three intelligently designed regulatory frameworks. One of those options is for a business to propose its unique framework to the governing council. If adopted by the board, this new framework is subsequently available to other firms operating in that same industry.
Creating the optimal environment for business builders
Launching a successful business requires the right conditions, even in good times. With economic headwinds, entrepreneurs of the 2020s are even more focused on ensuring they have the optimal conditions to reduce those fiscal frictions. A favorable tax and regulatory environment is a crucial factor for many startups. It can help reduce the financial and administrative burden, freeing up resources that can be used to invest in the business and drive growth. It also creates a level playing field for builders, allowing them to compete based on their ideas and innovation rather than being disadvantaged due to unfavorable tax or regulatory policies.
These supportive government policies are attracting the types of businesses at the frontiers of their respective industries. This includes Minicircle, a biotechnology company focused on genetic therapies. Their CEO determined that St. John’s Bay was a jurisdiction that would allow them to safely but quickly get to clinical trials at less than 1% of the cost of running those trials in the US. The city also has fintech companies, a drone delivery service, a Montessori school, and a Bitcoin Academy for community education. The Bitcoin education center is a key highlight, considering that St. John’s Bay has the ambitious goal of being the city with the highest crypto adoption rates in the world by the end of 2023.
Physical infrastructures to support the initiative
The innovation extends to their real estate developments. St. John’s Bay has the Circular Factory project, which uses geometric principles and layering, robotics, and 3D printing techniques to create beautiful and durable buildings with 70% less concrete and 90% less steel. This concept will result in custom designs like the upcoming Beyabu development.
With the city’s first residential tower slated to open in mid-2023, over 100 businesses have already incorporated within the jurisdiction, enticed by Próspera’s economic policies that empower business creators. Builders appreciate the supportive business environment and note the distinctive brand of freedom found in a private city on a tropical island, an ethos embraced by the city’s growing community of thousands of e-residents.
The city has also attracted interest from investors, including investments from Silicon Valley’s most notable angel investors. For them, Próspera offers a unique opportunity for them to fund the creation of a next-generation city, and potentially realize exponential gains as that city grows. Próspera’s approach to digital governance for a physical city is a unique value proposition outside of traditional software or physical real estate investments. Próspera describes governance as an industry and views its services as an option for individuals and host governments seeking alternatives to the status quo. For investors, this paradigm shift presents a huge opportunity – if governance is a market, it’s one of the largest markets in the world and ripe for disruption. This is one reason investors are flocking to the city, with Próspera raising upwards of $50 million to support the growth of St. John’s Bay.
Niklas Anzinger runs Infinita Fund and has invested in several businesses based in St. John’s Bay, with plans to move there in 2023. “Prospera is the most exciting project in the world regarding pioneering a new model for unleashing entrepreneurship. This is interesting for me as an investor for two reasons: 1) it attracts underserved talent, i.e., technology entrepreneurs from Honduras, and 2) it attracts international entrepreneurs in frontier technologies that are held back where they’re from because of overregulation. On top of all that, we joined a phenomenal community,” Anzinger shares.
A living and breathing culture
That community spirit, which comes up often, is seen even in the early stages of an entrepreneur’s introduction to St. John’s Bay. There are a number of summits held in the city for industries like fintech, health/biotech, and construction innovation. These summits present a coterie of enthusiastic builders eager to network with each other, compare ideas, and wrap their minds around how to bring their ideas to fruition in building a new city together.
Entrenched interests often challenge innovations that shake up the status quo. The ZEDE law, which created Próspera’s special economic zone, became a political football when the opposing party came into power. There’s a 50-year constitutional guarantee for the location, but the new administration nonetheless created a perception of doubt around the issue. Despite this challenge, the project has continued to thrive due to the optimism and vision of participants. The number of new businesses boarded into the St. John’s Bay jurisdiction grew by 38% in 2022, and the number of e-residents grew by 86%.
The e-residency program has been proven effective for builders and trailblazers, creating a new frontier from which to launch businesses built for the coming decades. With the supporting governance and policies crafted to maximize the advantages for business builders, this initiative is expected to make a tremendous positive impact that will send waves across the world. It may even become the only way to build a successful business for the next generation.