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Entrepreneurship & Startups Updated: 21 Aug 2017

“Colombia is a place for entrepreneurs”

The EmTech Colombia 2015 meeting on emerging technologies came to an end on Wednesday May 13, in which it became clear that the country has an innovative ecosystem that drives new ideas and new companies.

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On the second day, EmTech Colombia had an atmosphere that valued local experience and the country's entrepreneurial ecosystem. With the awards ceremony for Innovators under 35, and looking at benchmark experiences throughout the world, the most important event for technological entrepreneurship came to an end.

Colombia is in forth position on the list of nations with the greatest number of innovative entrepreneurs in their initial phase, behind Chile, Denmark and South Africa, according to figures from the World Economic Forum, WEF in its most recent report A global perspective on entrepreneurship, competitiveness and development.

For Thomas Cipriano Mejia, Secretary of Economic Development of the Municipality of Medellin, the country has made an effort to create different programs that increase innovation and enhance the capabilities of its cities. He also says that the country is characterized by its ambitious and skilled innovative entrepreneurs, who are a solid basis for the most competitive global economies

Some of the talks that were given at EmTech were a great example of that argument, such as that by Diego Jiménez, an Antioqueño who managed to create a nano satellite that could provide connectivity to the planet, or that by Daniel Buriticá creator of the  Real Hero app, which allows users to build a better world by carrying out small challenges that are in-line with their passions.

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The hosting city, Medellín, demonstrated its progress at the event and was presented with an award. It was highlighted as the second most important entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country and was highlighted as the area that attracts the most venture capital to the country, which shows the interest of foreign investors to capture and support the ideas of local business.

A meeting that set challenges

Throughout the day, the different speakers all talked about the challenges that the innovate ecosystem faces. Elkin Echeverri, director of Planning and Forecasting on Route N, was emphatic in stating that cities that want to be strong in this area should work on promoting a culture of entrepreneurship, encourage networking between entrepreneurs, providing  flexible options for funding projects and offering innovators quality knowledge to strengthen their development.

Fabrizio Opertti, Head of the Trade and Investment Unit at BID also pointed out the importance of not letting the brains out of the country, meaning that it is best to attract venture capital  projects and promote seed capital.

To mitigate the risk of innovative initiatives collapsing, Opertti spoke about Conecta America, a social network for entrepreneurs on which they can form part of communities based on their interests, train themselves by means of courses and seminars and even make connections with institutions that could fund them.

The speaker mentioned that Colombia's participation in this network was very position, since it's the country with most users, and 50% of account holders are women, which shows that gender bias has been overcome, which has generally been mostly male.

Innovation is awarded

The Innovative Awards for under 35s Colombia 2015 were presented at the end of EmTech Colombia 2015, supported by BBVA with the aim of detecting talent in its earliest stages and backing it.

The winners were Daniela Galindo with her project Hablando con Julis and Javier Mauricio Betancur with his development of insoles that reduce the impact of landmines. They received the Social Innovator and Innovator of the Year awards, respectively.

This year, EmTech not only proved that innovation is the reason behind a more sustainable society, but citizens were also encouraged to believe in what they do and in the country.