1492: Conquest of Paradise

This is supposed to be an old movie; it was released in October 1992 for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. I never heard of it before last weekend though, that I randomly stopped by the video store to ask for any movies related to Columbus, and in general, the preparation of his endeavor to discover “the new world”.

The reason why I was looking for such a movie, is because I kept intrigued by one of the analogies I heard at the Silicon Valley Tour, pointing Queen Isabel of Spain as one of the first Venture Capitalists of the history, when she accepted financing Columbus on his “crazy” project of reaching Asia through a new, never tried before route.

I´m not a movie expert. Also I am aware that movies many times are not as good as books to describe history. Though, I loved the movie … and I think it´s a wonderful piece to use and display, if anyone wants to set up a workshop to explain what entrepreneurship is.

Key moments of the movie to capitalize on:

- The first time, that the project of Columbus was presented to the University of Salamanca, it was harshly rejected. The “experts” did not believe in his not proven, risky proposal, so it did not even reach the stage of being eligible to be presented to the Queen. Even if he had a crisis, he did not stop believing. Lesson: Entrepreneurs never give up. They´ll find many “NO”s on their ways, but that won´t be a reason to quit their dreams.

- He kept fighting, and fighting and despite of the previously described rejection, he reached the Queen. How? Networking … even at that time networking was a key tool for things to happen. A sailorman that knew Columbus and somehow was attracted by his project (and wanted to make part of it), approached him and introduced him to a banker, which had “contacts” with the Queen and was willing to enable a direct meeting with Columbus. Basically, the Queen owed this banker money, so she could not refuse the favor of meeting Columbus. Lesson: Networking matters.

- Columbus was a genuine seller. The movie showed a great first conversation between Columbus and the queen, where you could really see how good he could sell what he wanted to do and how Spain could benefit from that. Beyond that, he was charming enough to make the Queen feel comfortable in his presence, and well, in general, make her just love him. At the end of the day it was clear that the Queen did not necessarily believe in the project, but she believed in him. As a today´s Venture Capitalist would do, Queen Isabel bet on Columbus, she took the risk. Lesson: The entrepreneurs as individuals, their charisma, and their ability to inspire others, is the engine of the entrepreneurial activity. The business is just the platform for the entrepreneur to show its geniality.

- Columbus was a starter. He was maybe the only man of that time that could dare to find the Indies the way he did. But once the “new world” started to be conquered, he showed not to be the best man to rule this new land. The movie shows all kind of crisis he confronted managing the first colonies, even if the Queen upgraded him to Vice-king. I would even say he did not even enjoy running these islands (Columbus discovered first some islands, not the continent), he looked miserable, his heart and mind were focused on moving on, sailing further until he could reach the continent. But he couldn´t, cause the “logic” said that since he was the leader of this new world discovery, so nobody else could be the governor of this new land. Lesson: "There are 3 kinds of people: people that start companies, that grow companies and that run companies - not all entrepreneurs are ready to make this transition".

- At some point of history, nobody recognized and valued Columbus work. The movie shows an amazing scene about this. After the new colonies were “a mess”, under Columbus administration, the high administration of the Kingdom of Spain just decided to send a replacement for him, someone that really had the profile to run the colonies. They did not only decide this without even consulting or announcing Columbus, but parallel to the arrival of the new governor, they arrested Columbus, blaming him for incompetency. The bad news for Columbus were not leaving his position as governor, he textually said “it was a relief for him, because now he was free to sail away and reach the continent”. What broke his heart was hearing that while he was so busy ruling the colonies, the explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci, another Italian, was the first person to reach the continent. When he came back to Spain, all the “flowers” of the new discovery, were given to Amerigo. Colombus was a random person, “the guy that could not rule the new world”, but nobody acknowledged that because of him, this entire discovery started. The movie showed though, that Columbus gained his position back in the history, thanks to his son Fernando, who years after and before his father died, started to write his biography. Lesson: "Humanity/society isn´t many times ready to recognize real entrepreneurship”

Well, Amerigo Vespucci did an amazing thing actually – he demonstrated that the New World discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 was not the eastern appendage of Asia, but rather a previously-unknown "fourth" continent - and that was huge. With all the right this new world was called AMERICA. Still while watching the movie, one has the feeling that Columbus should have been the one responsible for doing that … he deserved it.
The thing that makes me happy is that at least my country is called COLOMBIA, in honor to Columbus (in Spanish “Colón”).

Feel free to see the movie review of 1492 at IMD: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103594/


NETworking or NOTworking? - and other Silicon Valley stories

Taken from gapingvoid.com

I want to start this post highlighting this amazing quote I found recently on gapingvoid.com: "BLOGS AREN´T DEAD, PEOPLE ARE". It´s amazingly simple and logic, but at the same time it was amazingly harsh for me to read it ... "Man it means I´m dead ... my creativity is dead, my capacity to share experiences is dead since I do not blog since a good couple of weeks"

Anyways, after couple of minutes I recivered from my paranoia and well, FYI, I´m not dead!

I was busy doing NETworking, ehemmm, and NOTworking as well!

I was for a week abroad, half of it on a very short vacation and half of it participating in an amazing Immersion Tour of Endeavor in Silicon Valley (SV).

At Facebook, San Jose (CA)

The experience was just amazing, it felt like being in the "mecca" of entrepreneurship and capitalism, well in some aspects, it still is.

We had the opportunity to witness interesting and content-rich panels with all sorts of Venture Capitalists (VCs) of the Bay area that were willing to tell Entrepreneurs lessons on how the industry works and how to raise money effectively.

Another big block of the tour were of course the company visits ... we visited companies that today are icons for all of us, such as Google, Facebook, eBAY, PayPal and Eletronic Arts. Of course we saw what we all expected to see ... "thousands of crazy, diverse-looking employees living in wide campuses within a very unique, free, wild organizational cultures". However even if that was cool, won´t deny, I must say that was not what amazed me the most. What was unique of the experience was reflecting on how small these organizations started (just as any other entrepreneur) and how someone believed in them, invested in them, how the chose the right people to manage and envision the business and ... eureka! how they turned to be what they are now. It was a powerful lesson on THINKING BIG, on TAKING RISKS. Failure is not one of the options, but if it happens, it´s well embraced and powerful reason to stand up again.

At Electronic Arts

Well, since I´m a quotes person, I leave you with some of the most interesting quotes or expressions or terms I heard in the tour from VCs, Entrepreneurs and employees from some SV-based Companies:

  • "In Silicon Valley one new company is born every hour"

  • "We work on technology because we want to change the world" - COO Facebook

  • "Silicon Valley - Wild West approach to risk"

  • "Queen Isabel of Spain - one of the first Venture Capitalists of history" - Bill Draper making the analogy since as we all know the Queen financed Columbus, one of the greatest Entrepreneurs ever

  • "Demographics Vs Psicographics"

  • "It´s not the strongest of species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change"

  • "You´re the heart of our existence" - Venture Capitalist Bill Draper refering to Entrepreneurs

  • "Being a VC is all about making money without working. The job is about identifiying great business ideas and put in the right management"

  • "Self-actualization", "Identity refreshment"

  • "VCs serve Entrepreneurs, it´s a service"

  • "I do not do HR, I advice the leaders of the organization to do HR, I empower the business leaders to do their job" - VP HR PayPal

  • "People want to work for winners, people want to for something that is going somewhere" - VP HR PayPal

  • "The culture of you organization tomorrow is who you are recruiting today" - VP HR PayPal

  • "If you are scared with the crisis right now, maybe you should not be an entrepreneur"

  • "There are 3 kinds of people: people that start companies, that grow companies and tha run companies - not all entrepreneurs are ready to make this transition"

  • "5 words an Entrepreneurs does not want to hear from an employee: - IT IS NOT MY JOB - be ready to look for people that are willing to go beyong its resumee"

  • "You do not need to be in high-tech to make a lot of money"

  • "Finding one´s calling by looking at one´s purpose and it´s impact - not at the tasks we do"

  • "The ultimate time to differentiate ourselves (as companies) in the the times of recesion/crisis"

  • "VC money is not a commodity, it comes with a partner that makes it special"

  • "Fun is a very important element when building a culture"

  • "Sucess is failing repeatedly with ENTHUSIASM"

  • "It´s all about IQ that generates IP" - IQ= Intelligent people who generated Intellectual Property!

  • "The (Silicon) Valley isn´t anymore the only thought leader ... we need to re-create the valley in other places"

  • "A great business leader deeply understands the motivations of his/her employees, investors and of course, customers"


Unemployment - who´s to blame?

This morning I got to read that the unemployment rate in Colombia in July 2008 was 12.1 %, growing by 0.9 % compared with last year´s rate for the same month. Working at Endeavor and having "# of employees hired" as on of the key indicators of the companies we support, the growing figure can´t stop concerning me ...

Being a follower of Robert Kiyosaki anf finding quite logical and amazing his Cash Flow Quadrant (see it below) I can´t help reflecting randomly who to blame for a growing unemployment rate, tas least in Colombia. According to Kiyosaki´s quadrant the actors in the right side (business owners aka. entrepreneurs - and investors) are the ones that generate employment, and the actors in the left side (employees and partly self-employed people) are the ones that get hired/get advantage of the opportunities created by the other two. Well I guess it´s clear for us that he´s right.

The Cashflow quadrant

If we take the explanation of his quadrant literally, business owners and investors are the ones to blame for a growing unemployment - daahh! But, is it fair to only analyze the issue from this perspective? Definitively no.

Being currently an employee, hearing unemployment facts makes me really look for ways I can contribute, and indeed there are many and they´re all about how you can migrate through the quadrant.

1. From Employee to investor: For me the easiest (and probably the kess risky one) shift that one can make is becoming an investor. Ok, don´t get me wrong, at the beginning sure we are not talking of huge investments, probable we do not have the money for that, but investments into companies/smaller businesses are rather a matter of vision an discipline, rather than a matter of money. There is market for everything. By investing in businesses and causes, you are contributing to the growth and stabilization of those, and therefore into their ability to hire more. The mentality of many Colombian employees that fortunately have a surplus out of their personal finances, is to have it in a bank (the "paradigm" of saving) or what it even worse, spending it like hell in unnecessary things.

2. From Employee to entrepreneur:
This option is not as simple as the previous one, specially because I am a believer that there are certain characteristics that are proper of entrepreneurs that even if you are the best of the employees you will never acquire. So, you might have the motivation, but not what it takes. And one should be very self-aware and be conscious of that. STILL, I know people that currently have a job, but would be amazing entrepreneurs.

And if non of the past shifts is for you, well, the least you can do is being a n awesome, extraordinary employee. If you are not part of the solution, at least don´t be part of the problem! Let´s face it, entrepreneurs can´t survive without outstanding employees, it´s just not possible. Even if they create the jobs, is the workforce who really execute the business model. But mediocre performance as employees only leads to mediocre organizations, which are the ones mandated to get our of the market, and among many other consequences, generate tour well known friend called unemployment.

Last but not least, walking aside from what current employees could do, the role of the unemployed ones is the one that needs to change. What about the shift "unemployed to to self employed or to entrepreneur?". Many entrepreneurs have been born under this situation, by need, and the impact of what they´ve done for themselves and for their societies is amazing. Actually when I think back in some of the most inspiring cases of entrepreneurs I know, they have been entrepreneurs by need. If just a 20 % of the unemployed ones would dare to endeavor an idea, a project, a company, I bet this unemployment rate I referred to at the beginning would look completely different.


Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition

Join Changemakers, Youth Venture and Staples in identifying and supporting innovative ways young people are making positive change in their communites. Enter to receive feedback, find supporters, win prizes, and even secure up to US$1,000 in funding to advance your project. The competition is open to all young individuals between the ages of 12-24.

Read more one: http://www.changemakers.net/competition/staplesyv
Deadline to apply: Oct 15, 2008

Good Luck!


Olympics - a real expression of entrepreneurship

For some reason this particular version of the Olympics I´ve much more engaged following up the event and the competitions that in the past times ... it might be the "China factor" or it might just be that given the time difference between China and Colombia it´s very convenient for me to watch late at night some of the competitions ...!

Anyways, with all the Olympics fever and the flawless execution of this year´s opening ceremony, I can help start making connections between entrepreneurship and event management. Let´s first take a look at the definition*:

"Event management
is the application of the management practice of project management to the creation and development of festivals and events. Event Management involves studying the intricacies of the brand, identifying the target audience, devising the event concept, planning the logistics and coordinating the aspects before actually executing the modalities of the proposed event. The industry now includes events of all sizes from the Olympics down to a breakfast meeting for ten business people. Every industry, charity, society and group will hold events of some type/size in order to market themselves, raise money or celebrate. Event Management is a multi-million dollar industry, growing rapidly, with mega shows and events hosted regularly. Surprisingly, there is no formalized research conducted to assess the growth of this industry. The industry includes fields such as the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events), exhibitions, conferences and seminars as well as live music and sporting events."


"creation and development" ... isn´t it all the about being entrepreneurial?

Sure we can´t got to the extreme, it´s clear that the event management industry nowadays has so many stereotypes and established practices, standards and processes that might hardly leave room for
innovation and risk, but still the concept that event management represents will always be a platform to develop and nurture entrepreneurial skills. If not, just a take a look at schools ... how many of today´s real-life entrepreneurs we know were the ones that back at college or university leaded the school events, festivals and all kind of related activities? If you have one of those kids, pay attention, you might have a potential future entrepreneur!

For now keep enjoying the Olympics and every time you sit down in from of your TV (or well, every time that you join live an spectacle there in China, if you are lucky to be there), unplug yourself for some minutes of the sport side of things, and analyze how much entrepreneurial talent must have been involved to make that happen. This reflection can bring you to amazing conclusions.

Congratulations China!

* Yes, it is from Wikipedia. I love Wikipedia, can´t deny! It´s just that you can´t use Wikipedia for everything ...!


You´re brilliant. We are hiring.

Challenge yourself against better players and you'll become star of the team. Google's Vice President of Search Products & User Experience, Marissa Mayer, reflects upon her personal experience working with some of the finest talent in hi-tech - and points out that working with the best empowers each player to excel.

Even if the above shared video does not exclusively apply for the entrepreneurial world (and comes from a big, established company – but one of my favorite ones), it definitively addresses an issue that makes a huge difference when entrepreneurs are passing from having a “business” into building a “company”: PEOPLE. And in fact smart people.

To be a “one man show” is something very common for entrepreneurs when they are starting their companies. It happens for many diverse reasons that go from the fact that at the beginning only the entrepreneur understands (and feels passionate about!) what the business is all about, till simply not having the financial capacity to even afford a couple of full paid staff. However only companies become sustainable and transcend, when the entrepreneur is capable to build a strong team of good people that live the values and culture of the company, and that has what it takes to bring it to the next level.

The (personal/professional) EGO (a person's opinion of his or her own worth) is in this context the strongest enemy of entrepreneurs. They sometimes feel afraid of bringing on board people that for some reasons they might consider “smarter”. Big mistake. Some are afraid of loosing control, some even feel guilty for not being able to manage everything by themselves, others are simply afraid of being shadowed … we can talk hours in a deeper way about the reasons why for entrepreneurs is so hard to “let go”, but - coming back to the video – I´d invite you to reflect on the reasons why it´s important (and enjoyable!) to do it.

1. “Challenge yourself against better players and you'll become star of the team”: By interacting with good people that bring into your company unknown practices by you, YOU CAN LEARN from them! Now, it also shows the other “side of the coin”. When hiring, make sure you get people that are not only smart, but willing to build real learning environments and share their experiences (knowledge, thoughts, visions) with each other. I do believe there are billions of capable people in this world, but not all of them are ready to work with an entrepreneur – exactly because of this reason.

2. “Entrepreneur is Entrepreneur” – “CEO is CEO”: The demand of talent of companies changes over the time. At the beginning a start – up needs visionary people, with execution capacity, with no fear to take risks, sensitive to opportunities and high ability to convince and negotiate. That´s for me an Entrepreneur. But once the company grows the need for functional/technical/management qualifications and educated leadership skills increases. At that point, Entrepreneurs should be ready to invite people in that can bring those set of talents on the table. The Entrepreneurs should not strive to be CEOs just for the sake of being one. Many entrepreneurs indeed do not enjoy that job role and the responsibilities that it implies – but afraid of bringing new people in, they fall into the horrible game of doing what they are not good for, and stop doing what naturally they enjoy and are excellent at.

3. “The world needs you, not only your company”: For me a real entrepreneur (no matter if social or business oriented) is the one whose playground is the world, the society, not the companies. Companies are just platforms that entrepreneurs enable once, and take care of for a certain period of time, but then they need to get sustainable through talent that the entrepreneur should be able to bring in. Well, that´s my vision, I identify a lot with serial entrepreneurship … but I know it´s not the only way of seeing it. Leave your “babies” with smart “nannies”, and be free to keep changing the world. That makes you bigger.


A bit of self-promotion - Endeavor profiled in The Economist

As some of you know, I work at Endeavor Colombia. Below you can find an article, also published in the printed version of The Economist about Endeavor, which also shares highlights of some of our Entrepreneurs. Enjoy!
For the online version, click here

Spreading the gospel

From The Economist print edition

An effort to promote entrepreneurship in the developing world is bearing fruit

Spoleto juggles with its strategy

EARLIER this year Mario Chady faced a crucial decision. Having built up Spoleto, his chain of casual Italian restaurants, to 150 outlets in Brazil, and opened in Mexico and Spain, the time had come for Mr Chady, based in Rio de Janeiro, to choose between expanding into America or putting the idea on hold for at least 18 months. To help make up his mind, he asked for help from an organisation called Endeavor, which had chosen him as a potential “high-impact entrepreneur” in 2003.

Endeavor is a non-profit group based in New York dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship in emerging economies. It had already supplied three teams of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help Mr Chady craft a strategy for America. But as he spoke to members of the Endeavor network, ranging from leading Brazilian business tycoons to fellow up-and-coming entrepreneurs, he became convinced that it was the right strategy but the wrong time. Mr Chady decided to concentrate on expanding even faster in Brazil, and leave America for later. “The US economy is not at a very good stage, whereas Brazil is very hot now. Endeavor helped me see this,” he says.

It is routine for entrepreneurs to consult their networks of mentors in Silicon Valley. But in much of the world, such networks are notable by their absence—and so, too, are examples of Silicon Valley-style successful entrepreneurship. Changing this was why Endeavor was created in 1997.

“Why can’t the next Silicon Valley pop up in Cairo or São Paulo or Johannesburg?” asks Linda Rottenberg, who co-founded Endeavor with Peter Kellner, a venture capitalist. Fresh from Yale, she was working in Buenos Aires for Ashoka, an organisation that supports social entrepreneurs—people with innovative, usually non-profit ideas for solving social problems—and concluded that ordinary entrepreneurs needed a similar support system. Much of the difference between countries such as America, where entrepreneurship thrives, and those where it does not is cultural rather than regulatory, she believes. In many emerging economies, business tends to be dominated by a closed elite hostile to new entrepreneurs—and failure is stigmatised, rather than being a badge of honour, as it is in Silicon Valley.

The making of a start-up

Getting Endeavor started required some classic start-up doggedness of its own. At first, the philanthropic foundations Ms Rottenberg courted regarded the project as too elitist. “They complained that we were only trying to build a middle class, not to help the poor, despite all the academic evidence that a strong middle class is essential to prosperity,” she recalls. Eventually Stephan Schmidheiny, a Swiss industrialist who has given away a large chunk of his fortune in Latin America, was persuaded to provide some seed capital, and Endeavor was up and running, initially in Argentina and Chile. Today it operates in 11 countries, including South Africa, Turkey and, most recently, Jordan.

Endeavor’s magic works most powerfully in its selection process. Entrepreneurs are screened first by a national panel of successful businessmen, and then, if they are short-listed, by an international panel. So far over 18,000 entrepreneurs have been screened but fewer than 400 have been chosen. The aim is to identify those who can succeed on a scale that will make them into national role models, and then provide them with every possible support. But the process is designed to benefit all entrants, by helping them define their visions more clearly.

Endeavor’s national boards are rosters of leading tycoons—the founders of InBev in Brazil, Jennifer Oppenheimer in South Africa and Lorenzo Zambrano, boss of Cemex, in Mexico, for example. The international board, chaired by Edgar Bronfman Jr, boss of Warner Music, is even more august. At a selection meeting in Turkey in June, the panel included Daniel Och, a hedge-fund boss, Naguib Sawiris of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, Brian Swette, the chairman of Burger King, and Ali Koç of Koç Holdings. “It is a lot of fun. You go to all these nice places in the world, find all these young enthusiastic people, who you get to help. Sometimes you invest, maybe make some money,” says Ali Mehmet Babaoglu, a Turkish textile tycoon.

Once the selection process is over, these business figures then become mentors to the entrepreneurs. “Endeavor’s genius has been to get the establishment in these countries together, not to kill these entrepreneurial companies but to support them,” says Bill Sahlman, a professor at Harvard Business School who was recruited as an adviser early on.

Endeavor’s entrepreneurs—who collectively now control companies with combined revenues of $2.4 billion and 91,000 employees, earning on average ten times the minimum wage in their country—rarely say they would not have succeeded without Endeavor. But they all believe they got bigger much sooner thanks to its endorsement and support. Leonardo Shapiro of VeriFone, a maker of online credit-card payment systems, describes as “priceless” the advice he got from Pedro Aspe, a former finance minister of Mexico, before he flew to meet a potential American buyer of his firm, and the legal help Endeavor arranged from White & Case, which although not pro bono “was at a very interesting discount, and pay it when you can.”

One of Endeavor’s earliest successes was Wenceslao Casares, who sold Patagon, his Argentine internet brokerage, to Banco Santander for $705m at the peak of the dotcom bubble. He believes Endeavor has started to change cultural attitudes in the countries where it has been active for a while, mostly in Latin America. “When I said I was going to start a business, it was against everyone’s advice, from my family to my university,” he says. “Now, go to the same university and the same professors will tell you that one of their goals is to produce good entrepreneurs.”

Brazil is perhaps most vibrant of all. Endeavor’s successes include Leila Velez, who grew up in a favela and whose beauty salon firm, Beleza Natural, now has revenues of $30m, and Bento Koike, whose wind-turbine-blade manufacturing firm, Tecsis, recently struck a $1 billion deal to supply mighty General Electric.

Going global

Endeavor has “created islands of hope,” says Mr Casares. Now it must find ways to “change continents, not just little islands.” This has been recognised by Endeavor’s global board, which recently adopted an ambitious plan to expand to 25 countries by 2015. Endeavor is confident that it now knows how to adapt its model to new countries, having learnt from early stumbles in Chile, South Africa and Turkey. Fadi Ghandour, the Jordanian boss of Aramex, a logistics firm, believes there is much potential in the Arab world, which is full of young would-be entrepreneurs who have “discovered the new thing, that it pays to have an idea, not rely on land or investing.”

Funding has long been a problem for Endeavor. As a non-profit, it has to rely on donors—many recruited through a glitzy annual gala in New York—which has been tough at times, as in the months after the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001. Would it make more sense to be a for-profit operation? Endeavor has struggled constantly with whether to pursue profits, but each time has concluded no, says Ms Rottenberg, who also says she declined the chance to set up a $100m fund focused on emerging-market entrepreneurs. “If Endeavor had been an investor, rather than an independent, objective, non-profit enabler, it would not have been trusted by the business elite, or the entrepreneurs,” she insists. “Trust is everything.”

Happily, Endeavor has high hopes of moving onto a stronger financial footing. In some countries where it operates, starting with Brazil, successful entrepreneurs are signing up to a “give back” programme, donating 2% of their equity to Endeavor. With luck this could soon make the national operations self-sustaining. Moreover, on July 31st Omidyar Network, the philanthropic organisation set up by Pierre Omidyar, who made his money in Silicon Valley by founding eBay, announced a $10m investment to build up the capacity of Endeavor’s global operations. “Endeavor is already having a significant impact,” says Matt Bannick, managing partner at Omidyar Network. “Given capital, it could grow rapidly.” Watch this space.


Junior Chamber International - National Entrepreneur Competition

Pablo Martínez, a former AIESEC colleague (and now JCI member) shared with me this option that might be suitable for you or for other colombian entrepreneurs you might know. You can find more information as well in the following Facebook group.

Hurry up, deadline is August 15! The winners will have the chance to participate in the Global version of the JCI competition (to take place in India, in October 08). Below also information in spanish.

1. Requisitos:

  • Los participantes deben ser mayores de edad, para participar en el concurso mundial BBP de la JCI debe ser menor de 40 años.

  • Completar el formulario de inscripción

  • Cumplir con los plazos de entrega

  • Los demás requisitos exigidos por el Ministerio de Comercio, Industria y Turismo

2. Modalidades y categorías a concursar:

1. Planes de Negocios (Emprendedores con proyectos avalados por una entidad)

  • Innovación

  • Industrias Creativas y Culturales

  • Impacto Social / Ambiental

2. Empresas Innovadoras (Empresas con por lo menos 6 meses de constituidas)

  • Desarrollo tecnológico e innovación de clase mundial.

  • Impacto social y ambiental.

Las modalidades y categorías que no presenten inscritos, o que no obtengan el puntaje mínimo de evaluación, se declararan desiertas


Para realizar la inscripción debe seguir las siguientes instrucciones:

Bajar el formulario de Inscripción haciendo Click aquí
Lea las secciones siguientes que le ayudaran a comprender la metodología del concurso
El Formulario de Inscripción diligenciado y el Plan Empresarial deben ser enviados en físico y copia en CD a la siguiente dirección:

Señores:Emprendedores Colombia – Ministerio de Comercio, Industria y Turismo. Concurso Nacional de Emprendedores Calle 28 No 13A 15- Bogotá D.C. O al siguiente Apartado Aéreo: Señores:Camara Junior de Colombia Concurso Nacional de Emprendedores
Atn, Maria Ximena Serrano Corredor A.A 25695 Bogotá D.C.


"Everyone knows it pays to be pretty. It's good to know that it pays even more to be savvy"

I found this very interesting article on Forbes where the term "MODELPRENEUR" came across. The term reffers to "Entrepreneurial Supermodels", women such as Heidi Klum, Gisele Bündchen, Lauren Hutton or Kate Moss (among others!) that are not only pretty but also know how to make money out the brand that each of them represents.

I think that´s cool to realize ... specially because the last thing that one might co-relate to the life-style or atributes of a model is the entrepreneurial spirit ... and well, in the end, models themselves (their bodies, their faces and the icons they represent) are enterprises! We are full of paradigms!

Of course it will always be a question who really manages their businesses, but well, if someone else does that for them, who cares? finally being an Entrepreneur doesn´t neccesarely mean being a CEO :-), they key thing is to have the right vision and drive to endeavor something, launch it, find the right managers and staff (the past three steps can kill you though!) and well, let them do the money for you!
Another isssue is that many of their companies are related to the show-bizz, beauty industry, or clothing ... but again, who cares? In the end one should jump into a business that we really love and KNOW! - and in the case of supermodels those industries make no doubt a perfect fit!
Below some examples that were shared on the article!

Elizabeth Hurley
Business: Beachwear, and soon, pre-packaged frozen low-fat health food

The Estée Lauder model first rode to fame as actor Hugh Grant's girlfriend, but she is riding to fortune with her beachwear line, Elizabeth Hurley Beach, launched in 2005. Those bikinis, jewel-encrusted sarongs, lightweight pants, caftans, hats and bags are marketed in several continents, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Russia and the Middle East. She hopes to soon launch a line of pre-packaged frozen low-fat health food inspired by and sourced from the food grown on her 400-acre farm.

Gisele Bündchen
Business: Shoes, sunglasses

The highest-paid supermodel in the world, with an estimated $35 million in earnings last year, is also an astute businesswoman. Last year, Gisele reportedly began demanding to be paid in euros instead of the ever-shrinking dollar. And even though she has over 20 modeling contracts, the biggest payday comes from her licensing deal with Brazilian sandal-maker Grendene. The model's line, Ipanema by Gisele, is sold worldwide and accounts for 20% of the company's shoe sales, or about 30 million pairs last year. Gisele's annual royalty stream: about $8 million. Tom Brady's gal pal has also recently licensed her name to Luxottica's Vogue Eyewear for her own line of sunglasses called "Gisele's Selects." Oh, yeah, and she's in the hospitality business to boot, as the owner of Brazil's successful Palladium Executive hotel.


A firmly established modelpreneur, this Somalian-born beauty and wife of David Bowie started her line of cosmetics for women of color in 1994. It's now carried at U.S. mass retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Duane Reade and at international stores like Debenhams.


This blog needs to get alive again

What started as a "new years" resolution during the last weeks of december, lasted hardly a month ... shame on me ... I´m talking about this blog. Some people have been asking me in past weeks what happened to the blog, why I was not writting anymore, etc ... the only answer I have is called LACK OF DISCIPLINE.
But today I felt like stopping with the procrastination. I had a moment of PAINFUL CLARITY and realized that it´s time to leave the laziness aside and bringing this blog alive again. Yes, I´ve been very busy, that´s a fact, but for things you do with conviction, there´s always time. And I indeed have it, it´s just that my time has scaped without my permission to other endeavors!
So, ready to read again?
Let´s see how it goes! Man, 5 months without posting, so many experiences .. where to start?


The Impact of Entrepreneurship Education

I would like to reccommend that you all take a quick look at this study, which takes less than 15 minutes:

The Impact of Entrepreneurship Education: An Evaluation of the Berger Entrepreneurship Program at The University of Arizona, 1985-1999

They do a great job showing the real impact that Entrepreneurship Education can have on people and the economy. They make a compelling case for adopting it.

You can find the complete PDF file at:



The Most And Least Profitable Businesses To Start ...

Entrepreneurs start companies for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they have a passion, like being in control, want more flexibility--or even hate their current jobs.

But no matter the inspiration, one thing's for sure: They'd better make money. A rising revenue line might make for good cocktail conversation, but if you don't turn a profit--and keep turning one--you won't be an entrepreneur very long.

Take a look ate the Most and Least profitable businesses to start, according to Forbes.com


HP and AméricaEconomía (a leading latinamerican business magazine) are on the search of the global SME´s (small and medium enterprises) of Latin America. You have to complete your info (if you are interested in participating) entering here.

Interested in knowing former winners?


Top Ten Myths of Entrepreneurship

Posted on January 10, 2008 at http://blog.guykawasaki.com/

1. It takes a lot of money to finance a new business. Not true. The typical start-up only requires about $25,000 to get going. The successful entrepreneurs who don’t believe the myth design their businesses to work with little cash. They borrow instead of paying for things. They rent instead of buy. And they turn fixed costs into variable costs by, say, paying people commissions instead of salaries.

2. Venture capitalists are a good place to go for start-up money. Not unless you start a computer or biotech company. Computer hardware and software, semiconductors, communication, and biotechnology account for 81 percent of all venture capital dollars, and seventy-two percent of the companies that got VC money over the past fifteen or so years. VCs only fund about 3,000 companies per year and only about one quarter of those companies are in the seed or start-up stage. In fact, the odds that a start-up company will get VC money are about one in 4,000. That’s worse than the odds that you will die from a fall in the shower.

3. Most business angels are rich. If rich means being an accredited investor –a person with a net worth of more than $1 million or an annual income of $200,000 per year if single and $300,000 if married – then the answer is “no.” Almost three quarters of the people who provide capital to fund the start-ups of other people who are not friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family don’t meet SEC accreditation requirements. In fact, thirty-two percent have a household income of $40,000 per year or less and seventeen percent have a negative net worth.

4. Start-ups can’t be financed with debt. Actually, debt is more common than equity. According to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Small Business Finances, fifty-three percent of the financing of companies that are two years old or younger comes from debt and only forty-seven percent comes from equity. So a lot of entrepreneurs out there are using debt rather than equity to fund their companies.

5. Banks don’t lend money to start-ups. This is another myth. Again, the Federal Reserve data shows that banks account for sixteen percent of all the financing provided to companies that are two years old or younger. While sixteen percent might not seem that high, it is three percent higher than the amount of money provided by the next highest source – trade creditors – and is higher than a bunch of other sources that everyone talks about going to: friends and family, business angels, venture capitalists, strategic investors, and government agencies.

6. Most entrepreneurs start businesses in attractive industries. Sadly, the opposite is true. Most entrepreneurs head right for the worst industries for start-ups. The correlation between the number of entrepreneurs starting businesses in an industry and the number of companies failing in the industry is 0.77. That means that most entrepreneurs are picking industries in which they are mostlikely to fail.

7. The growth of a start-up depends more on an entrepreneur’s talent than on the business he chooses. Sorry to deflate some egos here, but the industry you choose to start your company has a huge effect on the odds that it will grow. Over the past twenty years or so, about 4.2 percent of all start-ups in the computer and office equipment industry made the Inc 500 list of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. 0.005 percent of start-ups in the hotel and motel industry and 0.007 percent of start-up eating and drinking establishments made the Inc. 500. That means the odds that you will make the Inc 500 are 840 times higher if you start a computer company than if you start a hotel or motel. There is nothing anyone has discovered about the effects of entrepreneurial talent that has a similar magnitude effect on the growth of new businesses.

8. Most entrepreneurs are successful financially. Sorry, this is another myth. Entrepreneurship creates a lot of wealth, but it is very unevenly distributed. The typical profit of an owner-managed business is $39,000 per year. Only the top ten percent of entrepreneurs earn more money than employees. And the typical entrepreneur earns less money than he otherwise would have earned working for someone else.

9. Many start-ups achieve the sales growth projections that equity investors are looking for. Not even close. Of the 590,000 or so new businesses with at least one employee founded in this country every year, data from the U.S. Census shows that less than 200 reach the $100 million in sales in six years that venture capitalists talk about looking for. About 500 firms reach the $50 million in sales that the sophisticated angels, like the ones at Tech Coast Angels and the Band of Angels talk about. In fact, only about 9,500 companies reach $5 million in sales in that amount of time.

10. Starting a business is easy. Actually it isn’t, and most people who begin the process of starting a company fail to get one up and running. Seven years after beginning the process of starting a business, only one-third of people have a new company with positive cash flow greater than the salary and expenses of the owner for more than three consecutive months.


The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is a unique business plan competition for female entrepreneurs in the initial phase created in 2006 by Cartier and the Women's Forum with the support of McKinsey and INSEAD management school.
Each year, 5 Laureates, one per continent, receive a US$ 20 000 grant and personalized coaching support for a full year.This website - www.cartierwomensinitiative.org - intends to provide you with the main information regarding our Awards and how to participate in our competition, but also key resources for writing your business plan, launching your business and realizing your dreams.

Read more on:
Deadline: February 15, 2008, 23:59 (Paris time: GMT + 1, extended deadline).

If interested, I know a colombian winner of 2006, that I´ll be happy to put you in contact with.


Hamburgers made out of cactus?

To see the original new in spanish from the colombian newsletter EL TIEMPO, click here
Happy new year!
Sorry for the silence of this blog in the past days, but as in many latin countries, we were on Xmas holidays. The good news are that there are lots of entrepreneurial stories to share after this break!
Let me start with this first one, that I found particularly fascinating.
In the northern colombian departament (state) of GUAJIRA, a team of wayuu indigenous secundary school graduates started recently what they call "the first bakery in the desert". Before having this bakery, sure they could get somehow bread, but this one would be already old and hard, in all cases not an attractive thing to buy or eat.
The innovative aspect of their bakery, is that they have discovered in the cactus, one of the most common plants in the desert, a great insume to produce food and drinks such as sweets, wine and even hamburgers! What for the "white men" (called by the wayuus white mean arijunas) is an useles plant, for the young team of wayuu entrepreneurs became a source of work.
Their endeavor started after they visited a zone in the desert full of medicinal plants and other native species of flora ... after this they talked to their grantparents about the old traditions and came to the conclusion that their environment was ruled by three main things: SUN, SAND and CACTUS. So, they had to find a way to make use of them, specially with the cactus. For that, they contacted Rafael Márquez, who is known as one of the most experienced individuals in cactus in Colombia.
This sounds like a great story (and it is!) however the limitations and difficulties to make all this happen were ane are many. Lack of efficient transpotation means, energy, computers and internet have made the education of teh former secondary students and set up of the business very hard. The government has tried to offer some help in equipement and energy plant, however a big proportion has been useless. And here is when the real entrepreneurial challenge starts, a good idea is not enough, resources are needed, and this search of resources and the balance to keep still their products of high quality is the current day to day of this wayuu entrepreneurs. I really hope to read and hear much more from them in the future.
If anyone is interested to support, let me know!