High Tech in Colombia
The world and the media seem to be in a mental limbo about Colombia. Almost always they have to dredge up a terrible past before they can present anything positive. My simple advice is, get over it ! Colombia is an emerging country. Let´s look forward rather than backwards.
Colombia is on track to become one of the leaders in technology in Latin America !
Right now, Colombia is a great melting pot for tech start-ups. Believe it or not ! The country has a highly educated work for and a scale of economy that makes it very cost effective to grow new ideas and businesses.
Look at Ruta N in Medellin. This forward looking city plans to be the technologically advanced city in the world by 2021. They are investing in the neighbourhood of 700 million usd a year to drive this dream to fruition.
For a country where the economy is rated 66th in the world there is a burgeoning IT industry to the tune of $6.8 billion with over 1,700 IT and software companies registered
Cellphone coverage in Colombia is extensive. With a population of over 46 million people there are over 24 million cell phone users. The government recognizes that “increasing Internet penetration in Colombia is an effective way to generate employment, reduce poverty and increase competitiveness and productivity. By 2018, they intend to have broadband connections available to 63 percent of the country.
Due to a historic lack of venture capital in the country, the government of Colombia initiated a number of porjects to propel this industry forward. One of these is iNNplusa. www.innpulsacolombia.com/
iNNpulsa Colombia was established to stimulate business hyper-growth, under these three principles:
– That by aspring and deciding to have extraordinary growth allows businesses to move beyond the norms and conquer global markets instead of settling for less lofty goals..
– ´´Business hyper-growth generates stable and high-quality employment´´
– Innovation is the starting point to restructure markets, revolutionize industries and enhance business initiatives.
In 2013, investor groups establishing new operations in Colombia received grants of up to 800 k usd from iNNpulsa.
Another initiative, designed by the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (MinTIC) to promote and enhance business creation through the use of Information and Communication Technology is called Apps.co.Their focus is the development of mobile applications, software and content . The goal is to take on the role as mediators and managers of ICT entrepreneurship, in order to push capacity building and ICT knowledge among Colombians. It is expected that in 2014 they will have awarded funding to accelerators and university partnership programmes approximately $33 million dollars. https://apps.co/
The tech industry is growing in this country. Facebook and Google both have established offices in Colombia in the past few years. While funding sources are still needed, there are now over 35 venture capital or private equity companies operating here.
So let´s get over the past and move on to a bright future. Colombia has a well educated, friendly, industrious people. It is an excellent place to invest and has a great economic climate to stimulate new business.
To learn more about Colombia, be sure to read more articles in the special EscapeArtist focus area on Colombia.