Contributed by Anna Valeria, Blakeley Fellow 2013
The main reason that brought me to Peru was to learn and find out more about the stage of their entrepreneurial ecosystem. According to the Global Entrepreneurial Monitor (the most relevant publication about entrepreneurship) Peru is one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world.
I have learned a lot since I arrived. I have met all types of entrepreneurs. Some more related to the definition most of us have from the American schools, but others do defer and even challenge our definition of entrepreneur. However, in most cases this difference does not stop them to feel part and work towards the improvement of their entrepreneurial ecosystem. At the end of the day an ecosystem is made up by people, so that is what we need, passionate people willing to share ideas and make things happen.
I also find out there are several international organisations with a heavy presence in the country:
Telefónica’s global startup accelerator. It established a presence in Lima in 2011. Twice a year they elect 10 teams with the best Internet related business ideas. Each team receives the equivalent to €40,000 plus office space and most importantly: mentoring.
An NGO that has the mission to develop sustainable social enterprises that solve critical social problems in emerging market economies. NESst established in Peru in 2007.
The feedback I often heard from the entrepreneurs is that it is hard to find a place to start working with their startup idea. Rents are quite expensive and contracts are made for at least one year. Entrepreneurs most of the time are not willing to invest the little money they have on working space.
This is the reason why the Peruvian landscape has seen in the last year a proliferation of co-working spaces. However there is a need of more!! (this is obvious when one enters any Starbucks in Lima and finds the place packed with more computers than people).
On the other hand there is a feeling that something is changing in Peru and that the economic growth is already giving some payoff. People feel the entrepreneurial is about to boost in the years to come.
As part of my work here in Lima we are building a network of entrepreneurs that have already achieved a success with their endeavours. The idea is to use them as example for others to come. This coming Wednesday (4:30 pm Boston time) we will be broadcasting live through YouTube an event that is looking to highlight the positive and negative aspects (and how to overcome them) of the Peruvian entrepreneurial ecosystem. Even though the event will be held in Spanish it would be great if you could join for support. I hope this will be the first of many more conversations that will help build a stronger and better ecosystem for the entrepreneurs in Peru.
If you like to join, on the day of the event you will be able to find the link to the YouTube channel to watch the broadcast at this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aninnovationred