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Davos: A global dragon’s lair where entrepreneurs try to land a billionaire

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If a simple tonic water costs just under a tenner, you know the world’s economic elite are coming to town. For small business owners in the Swiss resort town of Davos, the arrival of the World Economic Forum and its entrance is a cash cow with bells ringing. It helps lubricate the well-oiled wheels of Switzerland’s economy that keep the safe haven Swiss franc so strong.

Hordes of carpenters and painters have been employed to transform the city’s many boutiques into an elaborate, global trade show. However, they still have to queue at the Co-op to buy their dinner, which is well clear of the scorchingly expensive restaurants.

At my traditional Alpine hotel, the day before the conference began the menu was quietly updated with fresh inserts, revealing a dramatic increase in already hefty prices. I stuck to a regular order of simple soup, which was the cheapest dish on offer.

Store owners are slated to move out, lock, stock and barrel to make way for global brands setting up shop for the five-day event. From Uber to DP World, Main Street is a wall of familiar logos, with Manchester United taking a prominent position, perhaps hoping to catch the eye of another billionaire bidder or two.

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While the WEF talks loftily about finding solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems, from climate change to the cost-of-living crisis, for many attendees, Davos is really just one big networking event.

In a time of war and geopolitical fragmentation, it is clearly important to keep every channel of communication open between world leaders and business owners. While we can’t expect much concrete action from the jet set attending Elite Talking Shop, there is a huge opportunity to capture the edge of the forum.

Davos in January is like a global dragon’s den, with start-ups looking for new partners or rounds of funding to help them develop their innovative ideas. Sidewalks may be covered with snow, but the roads are still paved with gold-plated opportunities.

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The potential rewards could be huge compared to getting a piece of investment from Peter Jones or Deborah Meaden. In Davos, entrepreneurs are hoping to rub shoulders with the world’s wealthiest billionaires, and cling to the dream that an angel investor will swoop in. The era of ultra-cheap money may have come to an abrupt end, but the streets of Davos are still teeming with plenty of capital and investors looking for the next tech innovation poised for disruption.

So, these founders and business owners attend whatever event they are trying to generate interest in. From Colombian teacher developing hologram tutors to transform lessons in the developing world, using blockchain to improve transparency to supply chain innovator and former varsity baseball player expanding his successful coffee shop chain to ensure poor students Gives support and encouragement to finish college.

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You’ll often find them living at the bottom of the mountain, in cheap accommodation, but these entrepreneurs are braving the high prices, sipping water and munching a sandwich, to meet the perfect match among ultra-wealthy suitors. Opportunity for. ice.

Susannah Streeter is Senior Investment Analyst, Hargreaves Lansdowne

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