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Contxto – In hopes of becoming the Silicon Valley of Latin America, earlier this week the Colombian government announced the C Emprende initiative. The novel national accelerator program plans to open its first campus in Bogota by the end of the year.
Located in the city’s Chamber of Commerce, the new campus will mainly assist AI-powered startups. Operations should begin in August of this year.
C Emprende intends to offer a variety of incubation, mentorship and acceleration programs to local entrepreneurs. At the core, it aims to expedite resource flow and mobility for startups to grow. Moreover, it wants to promote the reciprocal exchange of knowledge between nations.
All of these efforts are to align with Colombia’s strategic interests, especially in terms of boosting the tech industry. iNNpulsa, the Colombian governmental council for entrepreneurship, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, are sponsoring the scheme to ensure this happens.
France’s successful Station F program is the inspiration behind C Emprende. The renowned space “brings all the relevant actors in the ecosystem together,” explained Ignacio Gaitán, iNNpulsa’s president.
Besides this, the action will support other “local tech hubs.” One of these is the Universidad El Bosque that provides education technology. Another includes the Palacio de San Francisco de la Gobernación de Cundinamarca concentrating on creative and cultural industries.
According to Gaitán, other cities such as Medellín, Cali and Montería can benefit from the C Emprende campuses. Whether entrepreneurs are in the preliminary stages or already have an advanced project, there will be space for everyone.
“The idea is to offers services for the whole process so that nobody is left out,” said Gaitán.
To strengthen entrepreneurial areas that “are weak in Colombia,” Gaitán said that most of the hubs will relate to AI, creative industries, fintech, agrotech, among others. He also stressed that they will bolster female entrepreneurship.
The official said that since the first station will open in August, this year they expect to only impact 400 entrepreneurs. Gradually, he hopes this number increases to 3,000 in the next three years.
For Julián Domínguez, president of Confecámaras, not only could these efforts turn great ideas into reality, but also strengthen productive apparatuses for the country. In other words, Colombia could be exporting more tech products before we know it.
According to Freddy Vega, co-founder and CEO of Platzi, Colombia is becoming an attractive tech destination due to the quality of entrepreneurs and national talent. Based on this, this is why it’s important for governments to act as amplifiers for these projects.
That’s to say, many would like the Colombian government to legislate better tax incentives for company operations.
“This type of initiative is fundamental to take advantage of, ” said Wilber Jiménez, entrepreneur and CEO of Wheels. “Especially with the infinite possibilities in the world of innovation and high-impact entrepreneurship.”
C Emprende will also encourage entrepreneurship in partnership with various Colombian universities. This way, students can develop the necessary skills and business plans for future success.
Moreover, C Emprende expects to host over 100 incubation and acceleration activities a year. Finally, it’s worth noting that the total investment for C Emprende amounts to US$20 million.