Today the annual Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) opens its doors for the first time in Medellín. Already known as an uprising international hub a wave of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, business and startup owners from over 160 countries will populate Colombia’s second largest and 2012 world’s most innovative city to explore „new ways helping new founders start and scale new ventures around the world“.
Until Thursday (March 17, 2016) busy and business people take their time to initiate global connections in speed networkings, learn about the newest research results and gain insights on topics like next generation ecosystems, disrupting traditional industries, entrepreneurial mindset, catalyzing startup communities, financing the innovative economy and social entrepreneurship.
The talks, discussion rounds and work workshops will deal with a broad range of entrepreneurship topics. Most of them will be held in English, the rest in Spanish.
Aspiring next-generation problem solvers will share their startup story on the mission to make a difference in the world and remind you to use entrepreneurial instincts and your gut.
Established business owners will inspire you on how company culture assisted their strategy development and existing myths about the path of an entrepreneur will be unmasked.
Also, you will hear how one of the world’s top restaurants turned from an innovative concept to an well-running business.
As a prime example for smart transformation in the field of science, technology and innovation, Medellín has become the best place for many entrepreneurs, startups, researchers and innovative projects to grow and make their dreams come true. Medellín radiates innovation and promising startups are born with exactly this innovative DNA – also helping Colombia’s reputation immensely and disrupt major traditional traditional industries.
Looking at perspectives in emerging locations there is a lot of room in the global innovation landscape. A call every innovator of tomorrow’s world should carefully listen to when wanting to pioneer in the next big businesses and economies that will change the world as we know it.
Scaling up as the next step for your startup is a crucial part. While you define the pace it’s critical for your success to be surrounded by an ecosystem that embraces to scale up.
Building and sustaining your communities is another step that happens parallel to your business scaling. Two Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) programs will provide tools to unleash ideas and strengthen startups.
In one workshop entrepreneurs will learn how to prepare a financial growth plan, financing alternatives to grown and how to access funding by learning to prepare key information about your business.
Another session will assist you in directing your company to achieve long term growth by defining a sustainable company culture and establish a strategy of stability – including a strategic compass comprised of a mission, vision, values and brand promise.
In a global picture specific case studies will provide support to access early stage investment for startups, recent research to understand business angel investment and the process of encouraging cross-border investing.
Moreover, the role of a global angels network to enhance the early-stage investing ecosystem will be elicited, followed by a Q&A with commentary from national angel associations around the world.
As a city formerly dominated by Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel Medellín has transformed into a city showing very clear: entrepreneurship facilitates post-conflict transitions.
This is also true for South Africa, the GEC 2017 host. Geographically far from each other they share similar challenges in building peace and a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem.
A white paper on building startup communities will be introduced. It provides „actionable frameworks that leaders can take and utilize in their ecosystems to help identify priorities, drive alignment and help advance startup communities“
In both fast growing entrepreneurship and angel investing, women are underrepresented. Studies show that empowering female entrepreneurship could as beneficial as the entry of women into the work force was during the 20th century.
The focus of this session will be on women as entrepreneurs and investors, you’ll gain insights into specific programs supporting greater participation of women in both areas.
The last day (Thursday, March 17, 2016) invites to different tour to business and culturally relevant venues.
Among them Ruta N, Parque E, a tour with the incubator company CREAME, a Unión Latina Salsa, Medellín Garden circulator and graffiti tour with Casa Kolacho.
As Medellín-based company ON BOARD are we organizing a facilitated education journey after the GEC. You will explore Colombia’s coffee region, meet and talk to local coffee farmers (campesinos) on the plantations, and enjoy its beautiful countryside.
Colombia is known to produce the best coffee in the world. Per year 11.5 million bags of coffee are produced here which makes it the third largest coffee producer in the world (from growing high-quality Arabica beans).
If you want to see more of Colombia than just the city of Medellín (which would be fair enough) we invite you to join the 7-days learning trip with ON BOARD.
You will explore coffee initiatives in Medellín, visit nearby towns involved in the distribution and sale of coffee and visit to two beautiful small towns surrounded by coffee plantations. With spectacular views feeling like on top of the world you will also see Colombia’s national tree (the wax palm) and become a coffee grower for one day where you learn how to pick coffee, process and prepare it for export.
The trip is beneficial for entrepreneurs to understand the tight relationship of Colombia’s countryside (campo) and the big cities. To stress this important connection they popularly use the phrase: „Sin campo no hay ciudad“ (no city without countryside).
The journey will start on March 18, 2016 in Medellín and end in Medellín on March 24, 2016.
Make the best out of your Colombia stay so that you’re not only inspired as an entrepreneur with new ideas, inspirations to grow and disrupt, but also to ground yourself because this terra firma is what makes us be alive in the first place. It’s good to be reminded about that from time to time.
Text & Image selection: Alexander Kluge, Head of Digital Creations at ON BOARD