Government Support For Innovation In Latin America.

Startups are constantly revitalizing the market, but they need a healthy environment to develop and be successful. Accelerators act in this context as a market-oriented agent, usually in the private sector using their financial investment capacity and have the function of directing and strengthening the development of startups.

Over the last five years, Latin America started to grab the attention of foreign investors, and startup organizations looking to get their piece of the pie. However according to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Latin America is falling behind other parts of the world in developing new technologies.

Some Latin America Governments are not willing to accept back seat just yet. To face the playing field and try to compete with more established centers and markets abroad, some forward-looking administrations took measures to support entrepreneurs who want to establish themselves in their countries.

In 2010, the Chilean government introduced the Start-Up Chile accelerator with the aim of helping the best start-up entrepreneurs to start their businesses in the country. The program had an important impact in the country and in the world, it inspired 50 countries to follow the acceleration programs, and the survival rate of the businesses supported by accelerators is high: 55% of the companies accelerated by the program were still active in 2018.

Start-Up Brasil, a National Startup Acceleration Program, was an initiative of the Brazilian Federal Government, created by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC), launched  2012, partnering with accelerators, investors, mentors, workspaces, and suppliers from a large international network  to support new technology-based companies.

The launch in Mexico of the National Institute of Entrepreneurship (INADEM), linked to the Ministry of Economy, in 2013, proved to be very influential for the creation of new companies. Before INADEM, there was no qualified infrastructure for entrepreneurs who met international standards. It started with 20 basic incubators and now has 190. There were no high-impact accelerators and there were no capital funds when INADEM started, but last year 5 billion pesos were invested into 188 projects.

Argentina has made an impressive turn in recent years. Its acceleration program, IncuBAr, is attracting startups around the world to come and thrive in the capital of Buenos Aires. Launched by the city government in 2018, IncuBAr provides mentors and advisors, financial assistance and shared access to their workspace for a year for startups arriving in the capital of the country.

Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina gave a positive example for friendly administrations of startups, which spread throughout Latin America and other areas. From Rota N in Colombia, to Parallel 18 in Porto Rico, we are witnessing a contagious positivity that flows from local governments in support of the development of local initialization ecosystems, creating many benefits for these countries.

Author: Marcelo Bravo