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“The future is no destiny, you have to create it”

11/27/2015 10:02
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The world of Mexican startups is aiming to create an environment that promotes innovation, and is looking at Chile for inspiration.

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Is the prime example for a startup creator limited to Silicon Valley? The answer is no. Preparing the runway for takeoff and developing an application according to the planned needs and project only requires an idea and good field research.

The difference between one environment and the other is something as simple as trust in a conversation. Seena Amidi, director of Plug and Play (a funding platform behind companies like DropBox or PayPal), told the Mexican newspaper El Financiero that the first obstacle is cultural: trust.

“At Silicon Valley you would share your ideas with any person willing to listen to you in a coffee shop; your idea grows with each conversation and you learn a bit more about what people think about it, this helps you improve”, she said at the INC (Innovate, Network, Create) in Monterrey —INCMty—, an event held in mid-November.

The Mexican startup scene has been particularly fertile. Mexico's goal is to follow the example of Chile, which through official and private plans for promoting research and development has managed to place the country at the leading edge in the development of Latin American online applications and businesses.

The events in Monterrey are one example. Both the INCMty and the Startup Nations Summit 2015 (the two events held in parallel in the city, the second most important in the country) have focused on driving local talent in Spanish. The organizers stressed that their goal is to become a “seedbed for talent” aimed at young people who have an idea.

In the case of the Startup Nations Summit, the choice of Monterrey in Mexico is no accident. It is the first time it selects a Latin American venue after having organized this event in Canada, Malaysia and Korea. One of the events held there by INCMty is worth mentioning: the Selection Day of Expansion and PlugandPlay, which invited around fifty entrepreneurs so they could launch their best pitch and thus achieve initial funding of 25,000 dollars.

One more example is IBM's decision to set up a portal in Mexico for bringing together entrepreneurs, government institutions, universities, accelerators and investors with the same aim. The idea was launched in Brazil a few months ago and the company expects to have it ready in the first half of 2016.

The environment for startups in Mexico is still at the early stages of development, according to Claudio Cossio, an entrepreneur with more than 10 years' experience and one of the prime examples at the INCMty. “Creating something from scratch is a contact sport”, he said. To create an ideal environment for ideas to germinate, rather than choosing a place you need an idea and an environment. “There is no room for individual agendas”. He summarizes it in one sentence: “The future is no destiny, you have to create it”. 

By BBVA Innovation Center