Our research shares various analysis on the case of special jurisdictions- Economic zones, charter cities and other innovative governance models as the future of development

Read our blog about special economic zones,
charter cities and other related topics by various authors in the industry

Michael Strong co-founded Freedom Lights Our World (FLOW) with John Mackey in 2005, which later spun off Conscious Capitalism and Peace through Commerce. He has also been a leader in the global Startup Societies movement, signing the first agreement with the government of Honduras to set up an innovative legal jurisdiction to create prosperity (a newer iteration of which is now welcoming its first residents) and coining the expression "Startup Cities" in a 2013 talk available here. He continues to speak and promote new jurisdictions to create prosperity to elevate the global poor.

He is a lifelong education entrepreneur who created and led a charter school in NM, one of the lowest ranked states educationally, that was ranked the 36th best public school in the U.S. by its third year and has remained a top ranked school. He also founded The Academy of Thought and Industry, a network of innovative high schools that serves as the high school program for the largest Montessori chain in the U.S. His current educational project is a virtual school, The Socratic Experience.

Michael is the author of The Habit of Thought: From Socratic Seminars to Socratic Practice, and lead author of Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems. He has written for academic journals (Economic Affairs, Critical Review, Journal of Business Ethics, etc.) as well as popular publications (Barron’s, HuffPo, RealClear Politics, etc.). He has spoken on entrepreneurial solutions to world problems at dozens of universities including Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Dartmouth, and University of Chicago, as well as many conferences around the world. He wrote his dissertation on "Ideas and Culture as Human Capital" under the supervision of Nobel laureate Gary Becker at the University of Chicago.

Who are We?

In the late 20th and early 21st century, entrepreneurial initiatives centered around technology have changed the world. Why not apply the same entrepreneurial spirit to governance? At Abelar, we believe that it is imperative to explore how entrepreneurial initiatives in governance can solve the problems developing nations face.

In order to promote economic growth, China has established special economic zones (SEZs), jurisdictions with reduced regulations and improved fiscal incentives to foster an improved business environment and attract foreign investment, typically for specific industries. These initiatives lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, and similar models have been successful in Singapore and Dubai. Recently, Startup cities and Charter cities have gained popularity. Startup cities are Urban development with startup DNA in a defined territory focused on delivering economic growth or a better way of living through an innovative vision. Charter cities expand on the concept of special economic zones by encompassing deep governance reform. Charter cities go beyond a specific industry for long-term scalability and agglomeration effect. An example is Próspera, a city in Honduras which provides Hondurans the opportunity to move to a jurisdiction with improved commercial laws in addition to strengthened business environments. Our Organization views replicating these cities and zones as a practical method of producing favorable business environments and attracting foreign direct investment to create prosperity.

Abelar aims to spread awareness of special jurisdictions and alternative governance models. “Abelar ” in Yoruba means “candlestick,” from which we derive the name candle societies or candle cities. We aim to assist in building “enlightened cities” in Nigeria and elsewhere by implementing alternative forms of governance, such as Special Economic Zones, Charter Cities, Startup Cities to empower the heroic spirit of free enterprise to thrive and generate prosperity. Our purpose would not be to compete with the government, but rather to complement the gaps in governance to attract investors and talent.

What We Do

  1.  conduct research on special jurisdictions and alternative governance models,
  2. publish our findings through digital content,
  3. facilitate relevant discussions on podcasts and webinars, and
  4. work with private Organizations and governments to encourage and implement special jurisdictions and innovative governance.

Further works

(1) Collaborate with our Organization to help us gain access to larger audiences, platforms, and projects

(2) Assist with shopping for the best existing version among innovative  governance advocates and customize the implementation for a particular government

(3)Donate to support our work towards advancing prosperous societies.

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