GIST Innovation Hub, UTEC Ventures, on Building Community and Engaging Innovators
In our ongoing series highlighting the work that GIST Innovation Hubs are doing to support their innovation ecosystems, we spoke with UTEC Ventures about their recent programs that engage and empower innovators in Peru.
GIST: Please tell us about the programs you have been running in your ecosystem and how you’ve managed to keep them relevant and effective.
UTEC Ventures: We launched the second version of our successful program How to Start a Startup with 20 participants. The goal of the program is to provide the tools and guidance necessary for entrepreneurs to bring their business ideas to market and have a real, positive impact in Peru and Latin America.
GIST: Who is the program aimed at? What types of innovators are you seeing in the program?
This program is perfect for professionals of all kinds who are interested in creating a digital or technological business in emerging Latin American markets. Instructors include Kenneth Lopez of Tekton Labs and Meghan Stevenson-Krausz who is the director of Inca Ventures.
Two participating startups from the first version of our How to Start a Startup program are currently involved in our incubator program. One of them is called Match Talent, a B2B recruitment platform through messaging applications for Latin America. This month, it will be launching its platform and starting the validation process with large companies in Peru.
We are currently accepting applications for our next group of participants. Learn more and apply here.
GIST: Your organization has been effective in very impactful ways including addressing violence against women. How did the innovation and violence against women worlds come together?
UTEC Ventures: The program that we established is called "Prevention of Violence against Women.” This year, we organized this program with the Inter-American Development Bank, the Peruvian Ministry of Women, the World Bank, and Kunan with the aim of identifying, supporting and working with the best technological solutions to prevent and counteract violence against women in Peru. Recently, we held a Demo Day for this program where three technology solution companies confronted this problem.
We welcome other innovators and collaborators in these efforts. Those interested in this work and/or in supporting these projects can reach out to [email protected].
GIST: In addition to these high-impact programs, UTEC Ventures has been active in the investor space as well. Can you tell us about how you are engaging the investment aspect of your ecosystem?
UTEC Ventures: Yes, this year, we partnered with Efino and the Swiss Entrepreneurship Program to launch the Startup Investor Program 2020: How to invest in startups. This 2-week long program has the goal of strengthening and encouraging investment in startups in Latin America. Participants are looking to improve their ability to identify, define, negotiate and execute early stage startup investments in Latin America. Startups are seen as high-risk investments but, through the course, participants learn the value inherent in these investments.
GIST: UTEC Ventures has a very well structured accelerator program. You have a cohort right now that’s about to “graduate,” is that correct?
UTEC Ventures: Indeed, we are gearing up for our Accelerator Program 2020 - Demo Day on December 15th. The presentation will feature the 19 startups who were selected in September to participate in the program. They will pitch to investors, mentors, accelerators and guests from the global ecosystem. Please contact [email protected] if you would like to join us for this event.