GIST I-Hub: Colombia - Ruta N

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Publicly funded, Ruta N not only serves as a launch site for businesses operating in Medellín, but also works with universities and the private sector to promote innovation, to support entrepreneurs, and to provide tech training and education for youth.


At a Glance: 

I-Hub: Ruta N


Location: Medellín, Colombia


A Closer Look at Ruta N:

One of Ruta N’s strategyc priorities is to develop and strengthen startups and entrepreneurs. They decided to join the Network as in I-Hub in Medellin to experience first hand from best practices and lessons learned while increasing networking capabilities for local communities through Venturewell’s global positioning.  

Ruta N was created by Medellin's City Hall, business group EPM (a government owned utility company in Colombia) and TIGO UNE (Colombian Telecommunications Company owned by EPM) in 2011, to streamline the city's innovation ecosystem, promoting the development of innovative, technology-based businesses, to increase the competitiveness of the city and the region.  

Medellin has a strong business environment. 6 of the 10 companies with the largest stock market capitalization (2017) in the BVC (Stock Exchange of Colombia) are headquartered in Medellin and represent close 30% of the total value of companies listed in this market.  

Medellin has a broad academic portfolio and qualified human talent. There are 47 universities and higher education institutions in our territory.  

With these economic and talent perspective, the startup ecosystem has been powered by Ruta N and other entities working to promote the entrepreneurship in order to create better quality jobs and opportunities for our citizens. Ruta N currently works under three different strategic priorities: 

  • Attraction of talent, capital and companies. 

  • Development and strengthening of local companies, startups and entrepreneurs. 

  • Generation of STI solutions for city challenges and Needs. 

Particularly regarding our second strategic priority, we have been developing and helping the ecosystem build different communities for our different stakeholders: 

  • Companies 

  • Startups and entrepreneurs 

  • Developers 

  • Smart capital investors 

  • Market access actors 

We work actively with these communities, analyzing their needs regarding team, market, funding, etc, and helping them connect with the ecosystem accordingly. In the specific case of startups and entrepreneurs we are developing the following activities: 

  • Monthly meetups on specific digital topics as IOT (Internet of things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), Blockchain, Data analytics etc. 

  • Conferences with high level speakers. 

  • Workshops for startups on topics as: value proposition, innovation challenge definition, pricing, brand value, customer centered design, design thinking, product and service prototyping, etc. 


Ruta N Updates:

2018 was the year Medellin decided to actively be a player in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Technologies such as Blockchain, AI and IoT are already shaping our lives in more ways than we can even begin to imagine, and they will continue to do so in the future. As the public entity in charge of advancing STI in the city, Ruta N has the responsibility to prepare us to reap the benefits of such changes, and that is exactly what we started to do when we became the first spanish speaking city to host one of the World Economic Forum’s Centers for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, that will make sure public policies are up to par with technological developments.  

Talent is one of the main components of Medellin’s strategy to become a hub for all things 4.0 Industry. Ruta N has calculated it will take about 20.000 people trained and ready to work by 2021 in these fields, so we have put in motion businesses, training institutions and youth in order to prospect future jobs, create training programs tailored for those jobs specifically and scout the talents to be trained and, eventually, hired.  

Just last year we managed to land more than 60 STI driven companies in our Innovation District. Those companies created a little over 1.900 highly skilled and well paid jobs. Innovation has an immense ripple effect: a third of the total jobs created in the city are consequence of an innovation process and today, STI related activities amount to 2,27% of our GDP.  

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