The effort began in June 2012. I had been invited to participate in a panel at the First International Congress of Information Technology EXPOTIC, organized by the Lima Chamber of Commerce, and I had the opportunity to suggest some of the speakers which included Alex McCauley from Twitter, Kevin Holmes from Founders Network in Silicon Valley and Sebastian Vidal, Start-Up Chile Executive Director and Startup Nations representative for Chile.
Photo – from left to right: Peru’s Minister of Production Piero Ghezzi; Sergio Rodriguez, Director of Innovation; Startup Nations representative Gary Urteaga; and Alejandro Bernaola, General Director of Innovation.
Although Vidal came to Peru for only couple of days, he was kind enough to accept my request to accompany me to a couple of meetings with stakeholders in the local ecosystem and to be interviewed in one of the most important political programs in Peruvian TV. After meeting with representatives of the Science and Technology Program (FINCyT) and the Innovation Program (FIDECOM), we rushed to a meeting with Magali Silva, now Minister of Trade and Tourism of Peru, who at that time was the Vice-Minister of SME and Industry at the Ministry of Production. We spent almost two hours talking about entrepreneurship and startups with her and her cabinet of advisors, where Vidal shared details of the Startup Chile program, which although it was only two years old and had just three generations of entrepreneurs, it had already created a huge impact and worldwide recognition of Chile as an innovation hub.
I had already been in conversations with Minister Gladys Triveño and Vice-Minister Silva at the Ministry of Production regarding the need to get more involved with the entrepreneurship ecosystem. I believe that after hearing the successful experience of Startup Chile first hand, they shifted gears and started working on a seed capital program to support entrepreneurs. Not much time passed until they informed me that the Ministry of Economy of Peru had approved USD 20 million for a Startup Peru program and I had the great honor to coordinate an interview with Hermione Way from The Next Web to share the news with the world.
The Ministry of Production designed the Startup Peru program in 2013 with the support of FINCyT, researching the experience of initiatives like Startup Chile around the world, and inviting to the conversation stakeholders like entrepreneurs, incubators, accelerators, investors, universities and consultants from international organizations like the Inter-American Development Bank, Corporación Andina de Fomento and Programa de Desarrollo Emprendedor.
Startup Peru was launched December 29, 2013, with a call for projects open to entrepreneurs until March 30, 2014. Having received 2,421 applications, 510 passed the first screening stage. The program also had funds available for startup incubators and out of 39 applications, 26 organizations qualified for the evaluation of their proposals.
More recently, on August 26, 2014, the new Minister of Production of Peru, Piero Ghezzi, announced the 23 startup entrepreneurs and 4 incubators as winners of the first generation of grants, representing USD 1.3 million in funding; and informed that an additional USD 5.3 million will be invested in startups and incubators in 2015. Minister Ghezzi sees Startup Peru as the first concrete step in their implementation of the National Plan of Productive Diversification, which considers the promotion of cutting-edge entrepreneurship as one of its pillars. The second call for incubators was opened on October 24, 2014 and closes on February 9, 2015. The second call for projects was issued on November 3, 2014, mustering 2,947 applications by the deadline of January 16th, 2015 and resulting in 537 proposals that qualify for the next round of evaluation. The announcement of the final results will be made in April 2015.
On January 30, 2015 I received an invitation to join Minister Ghezzi for a meeting with his innovation team working on Startup Peru to share my experience with HOLOSENS, and my views on executing innovation projects and the incubation of startups. This meeting was part of his research in preparation of the re-launch of FINCyT – FIDECOM, scheduled for February 2015. It was a pleasant coincidence for me to find myself almost two years later in the same meeting room where, in 2012, Vidal and I shared what the Startup Chile Program was about with the officials then leading the Ministry of Production of Peru.
In my view, Startup Chile has been helping the Peruvian entrepreneurship ecosystem since 2012 by investing directly no less than USD 400,000 in more than 10 Startups led by Peruvian Entrepreneurs, in addition to other non-monetary resources like access to co-working space, mentorship, training, networking, and a platform for growth. Startup Chile also inspired the Peruvian government to create USD 20 million in funds for startups in Peru. This is just one example of cross-pollination between ecosystems around the world. I have no doubt that Startup Nations will continue to bring nations together through entrepreneurship, innovation and startups, fostering job creation and economic growth, while creating lasting networks and friendships between stakeholders along the way.
Original publication HERE
Written by Gary Urteaga @urteaga