2020 was a year that, like many startups in the country, forced us to think differently and prioritize our energies in order to fulfill our purpose: to help the local and national ecosystem by creating value for the entrepreneur, the innovator, the social influencer, the researcher, the intra-entrepreneur and ultimately, those who carry the weight of the ecosystem on their shoulders.

Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), two of the world’s leading entrepreneurship organizations, recently launched the Global Entrepreneur Ecosystem Report 2020. This is a research piece on entrepreneurship (with interviews conducted with more than 10,000 entrepreneurs around the world), which classifies and rates the value of entrepreneurship and the ecosystems in which they were born and developed. The report can be accessed here.

In the global ranking, the best-ranked ecosystems are Silicon Valley, New York, London, Beijing, Boston, and Tel Aviv-Jerusalem. Bogotá is included in the «emerging» ecosystems (led by Mumbai, Jakarta and Zurich), along with the other four cities in the region that make up the ranking. Bogotá appears behind Mexico City but ahead of Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile and Curitiba. Medellín is not mentioned.

The launch of the report comes at a critical time when 4 out of 10 startups worldwide have 3 months or less of liquidity in the wake of the pandemic. This means that these companies will collapse if they do not access additional capital or are unable to change their income and expenses, risking a massive extinction of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that took years to consolidate. According to research by Startup Genome:

Due to the coronavirus, the flow of capital was stopped or slowed down, while investors stopped investing in new portfolios, prioritising those in which they already have investment.

Today the goal in Latin America is to survive and not scale, and that is where our commitment as Impact Hub Medellin lies. Reality indicates that once we overcome this crisis, the best-ranked ecosystems will continue to be the best performers. Places like Silicon Valley, New York, London, and Beijing will continue to produce great innovations and create high-level value.

Despite this reality and the harmful effects derived from Covid-19, in 2021 Impact Hub Medellin sought to strengthen ties with our community, provoke more and better relationships between local entities and leaders, explore new areas of impact, create new incubation and acceleration programs and in general, re-understand our role and the meaning since arriving in Colombia in 2018.

For example, we identified the need to support companies led by women in the city and the region, to enhance their business ideas and strengthen their impact. Within this opportunity is where the program «Emprender Mujer» was born, a platform for the support and strengthening of women’s businesses. The objective of the program is to work to reduce the economic inequality gap for women in the territories, create benchmarks for business and entrepreneurial development that diversify and expand the labor participation of women and make their leadership visible. The program has allowed 50 women, most from underrepresented communities, to become included in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, usually open only for those who can normally access the opportunities.

Also, in an effort to attend and drive positive change in the health and wellbeing sectors, widely affected due to the pandemic, we became part of the platform Lafiya Innovators, a six-month acceleration program taking place in 3 locations throughout West Africa and Latin America. Each regional cohort combines community collaboration with specialized health and business expertise, providing entrepreneurs with a locally-rooted, globally-connected experience. The program focuses on 15 solutions targeting underserved populations, including children, adolescents, and women and constitutes one of our main bets to support the local and national health ecosystem.
In terms of concrete value created and provided in the ecosystem in 2021, we are enabling 11 migrants currently based in Germany, to start and sustainably develop their business in Colombia, through the Migration & Diáspora Program (PMD), in partnership with GIZ. The PMD is a global project funded by GIZ that aims to enable key actors in partner countries to take advantage of the positive effects of regular migration and have local social and economic development. The program supports immigrants in Germany who want to start a business relevant to development in their home country and provides them with industry, sector-specific knowledge.
Also, thinking about what the pandemic taught us regarding the relevance of entrepreneurship and the importance of a fair sustainable development, we have prepared +200 adolescents from vulnerable communities to become local positive influencers through the program Agents for Impact. The program is aimed at adolescents between 10 and 17 years old, who design solutions for their communities on issues such as health, well-being, environment and urban space, using playful methodologies and approach the concept of entrepreneurship through prototyping techniques. It´s a Social Entrepreneurship program, unique and first of its kind in the city of Medellín, aimed at girls and boys from vulnerable communities, whose objective is the creation of soft and technical skills, in order to create minimum viable products.
Lastly, we have also joined the Angels4Impact initiative in partnership with Impact Hub Milan & Istanbul, as an investment vehicle for startups from different sectors. With this effort, we aim to contribute to close the strong gap in our ecosystem related to access to funding in key stages of development of a startup. To date, the networks have managed to bring together +120 angels and invest more than 4.5 million euros in 49 startups around the world.

We are excited for the plans and progress we´ve made in 2021 so far and the value this has created for the local ecosystem. While we still are a young entity in the city, we are convinced that we can contribute to the achievement of a better ecosystem, more inclusive and designed so that access to opportunities expands.

Federico Restrepo Sierra
Sebastian Bustamante Gonzalez

Si bien existe un buen número de empresas jóvenes y startups innovadoras que están aportando soluciones a los desafíos que ha traído el Covid-19, la realidad nos muestra que estos emprendimientos y las organizaciones que los apoyan están sufriendo duramente los impactos de la pandemia. Por esto te traemos 20 cosas que nos enseñó la pandemia.

Un estudio reciente del BID y Prodem explora estos impactos y las respuestas de los emprendedores y ecosistemas, con base en una encuesta a 2.232 emprendimientos de América Latina y el Caribe (ALC) y a 429 instituciones de apoyo tales como incubadoras, aceleradoras, company builders, espacios de coworking y agencias públicas de apoyo a la innovación.

Los impactos son mayores entre las empresas de menor trayectoria. 2 de cada 3 empresas con menos de 1 año de vida dejaron de vender, frente a algo menos de la mitad de las que tienen al menos 3 años.

Por el contrario, los emprendimientos del sector tecnológico y las empresas jóvenes que más habían logrado crecer en los años anteriores, estarían sufriendo un poco menos.

El 29% de las tecnológicas dejó de vender, frente a más del 80% en otros sectores de servicio; mientras que apenas un tercio de las empresas más dinámicas dejaron de vender, frente al 53% del promedio general.

La pandemia también está pasando factura en el ánimo general de los emprendedores y sus equipos. Dos de cada tres emprendimientos han visto decaer significativamente el ánimo de su equipo emprendedor, algo que se da de forma aún más acentuada entre sus empleados (71%).

Los 20 aprendizajes de los emprendedores

Quisimos compilar 20 aprendizajes que hemos tenido todos los emprendedores durante esta época de pandemia, que pueden resonar con otras lecciones que tú también has tenido:

¿Tienes otros aprendizajes? Acá estamos para leerlos 😉

Gambetiando is an innovation based platform, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing in vulnerable communities in Medellin (Colombia), using soccer as an entrance door for adolescents between 10 and 15 years old. Gambetiando intends to create a set of socio-emotional skills, under a strong partnership framework and a social entrepreneurship oriented program, enhancing a creative use of technology in order to boost and develop knowledge, in an aligned way with the Sustainable Development Goals. We attended the World Urban Forum (WUF), Abu Dhabi 2020. What we learned at WUF10?

The WUF10 helped us understand current global priorities in terms of urban planning and the SDGs, from a multiple and diverse set of global actors, all immersed in complex and substantial realities, with different challenges and conditions. Within this context, Gambetiando seems deeply relevant to the current local, national and global priorities in Colombia, as health, well-being, empowerment and sustainability – Gambetiando’s goals – fall directly into the urgencies of our cities today.

Through WUF10 we raised awareness of the sustainable urbanization amongst our stakeholders and consortium partners and gained an enhanced understanding of our project´s urban practices through an open and inclusive debate, the exchange of best practices and policies, and the acknoledgement of the learned lessons. Being able to link adolescents from their earliest ages with a framework of socio-emotional development and skills, with a direct impact on social entrepreneurship and leadership, Gambetiando fits perfectly with what was perceived at WUF10 as prioritary elements: sustainable urbanization in all of its ramifications, collaboration and cooperation between different stakeholders and groups committed to the advancement and implementation of sustainable urbanization within cities.

Several elements at WUF10 caught our attention. The following is a brief summary:

Key drivers of success of the 2030 Agenda within cities

For centuries, cities have been centers of innovation and catalysts for progress as they create wealth, enhance development, and tap human and technological resources. The New Urban Agenda is a framework for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is anchored in social inclusion and the eradication of poverty; guaranteeing sustainable and inclusive urban prosperity and opportunities for all; and promoting environmentally sustainable and resilient urban development.

Diversity, cultural practices and heritage were presented as key points for the development of sustainable cities. According to the WUF10´s final document, if urban heritage is recognized and cities are revitalized, it´s a double win. To that extent, urban renewal, which preserves identity but rethinks environments, is emerging as an essential alternative.

Also, it was remembered that culture drives innovation and the cultural industry ends up being a source of employment and development. Hence the protection of identity and cultural practices in the territories is important. Therefore culture is fundamental because we need to make the diversity of cultures, social and economic groups in the city an asset for wealth. We know that cultural diversity allows progress, but we must do it carefully to avoid falling into intolerance or a dialogue between the deaf. The WUF10 seeked to listen to local and diverse expertise to give a boost in this topic.

One of the key issues in executing the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs in cities is innovation. Although progress is being made in policies, more needs to be done, and this is achieved by creating favorable environments so many more actors are motivated to carry out initiatives that have an impact. This will happen through digital transformation and social perspectives, so that it can be applied in neighborhoods and cities.

Latin America tends to account for the capacity for innovation, good pilot exercises and good examples that the world recognizes. Despite the fact that the event took place so far away, WUF10 had representatives from Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Paraguay, Ecuador, Brazil, Barbados.

Women are key to transformation and it was emphasized at WUF10 that women and girls are key agents in the changing their cities. UN-Habitat explained that, given that to as the goal of the next 10 years will be to leave no one behind in the processes of development in innovation, it will be a priority that women are listened to and taken into account when planning cities. In fact, there were spaces specialized in women’s issues and with a gender focus at the Forum. At the end of the event, in the remaining commitments of the Women’s Assembly, the need for ways to measure progress on gender issues and women’s leadership was stated.

Data and knowledge were strengthened as tools for generating public policy and solutions for cities. UN-Habitat recalled that there are already online resources with information such as the City Prosperity Initiative (available at www.urbandata.unhabitat.org) and indicators such as the Culture 2030 Indicators (available on the web www.whc.unesco.org). To strengthen this aspect, UN-Habitat recommended in WUF10 that investments and work be strengthened to develop better urban data platforms and granting acess to civilians.

There was an important and massive participation from the private sector in this WUF10 and interesting relationships could be built with local governments. The private sector, as a result of conversations with other actors, promised to explore financing mechanisms that promote sustainable urbanization and the development of local projects, even in cities that have risky profiles or with low-income populations. Increasingly, this sector is becoming aware of the need for its investments to have a social impact and that the best way to guarantee profitability is to maintain an environment where there is social progress. Private corporations had the opportunity to connect with the public sector and with other actors in meaningful discussions.

Sebastián Bustamante González – Cofounder Impact Hub Medellín

what we learned at wuf

Get to know more of Gambetiando, here.

De ser una moda, el emprendimiento se ha venido consolidando como una opción real de desarrollo económico, afectando o repercutiendo en la generación de empleo, en la innovación o en «dolores» específicos de la sociedad.

Es por esto, que vemos cómo programas enfocados en capturar, fortalecer y consolidar el emprendimiento surgen constantemente en instituciones públicas,

empresas privadas, entidades educativas e incluso, desde aquellos que en algún momento fueron emprendedores y hoy buscan devolverle al ecosistema lo recibido.

Un ejemplo de esto es que en 2017 iNNpulsa Colombia movilizó más de COP $117.000 millones (cerca de USD 42 millones) en recursos para el emprendimiento, la innovación y el desarrollo empresarial.

Otro referente claro de un esfuerzo agresivo para fortalecer un ecosistema de emprendimiento, lo constituye el ampliamente mencionado «Gran Pacto por la Innovación de Medellín», el cual cuenta a la fecha con 2.500 empresas firmantes, liderado por la Corporación Ruta N.

¿Cómo medimos el éxito de las políticas y las inversiones en emprendimiento?

La pregunta que surge entonces, luego de ver cómo todo un ecosistema se vuelca hacia el propósito común de convertir el emprendimiento en una de las principales aristas de una economía, es cómo saber si dichos esfuerzos han sido exitosos realmente.

Quisimos preparar la siguiente guía par dar algunas ideas sobre cómo garantizar que en efecto, todo lo que ponen sobre la mesa por medio de sus programas crea, transforma, convierte, evoluciona y mejora, las comunidades en las que se encuentran sus emprendedores.

¿Qué son los indicadores de éxito en el emprendimiento?

Un indicador es una forma de verificar empíricamente qué pasa con los factores que son clave para el programa; es una medida puntual que captura una dimensión relevante de la realidad de las comunidades en las que el emprendimiento busca surtir efecto.

Por ejemplo, si bien no puedo medir “el empoderamiento de la mujer” como tal, si puedo medir su autosuficiencia económica, las situaciones de violencia intrafamiliar que enfrenta, su estatus socioeconómico, entre otros. Así, a través de indicadores podré conocer su nivel real de empoderamiento.

Un buen indicador es medible, participativo, sencillo, accesible y pertinente, captura cada paso de un proyecto, trazando en números el camino que lo llevó a sus últimas consecuencias. Al tener esto en mente, los indicadores nos pueden aportar la siguiente información:

Por otro lado, debemos establecer claramente el nombre de nuestro indicador, su definición, su método de cálculo, su frecuencia de medición, su unidad de medida y lo que se pretende conocer con el para poder utilizarlo efectivamente.

¿Necesitas ayuda para definir tu escala de medición en tu programa de emprendimiento? ¡Contáctanos!