BY MARIANA LÓPEZ
Often a startup’s success depends on the circles its leaders run in. For which there are initiatives that can help them network. Facebook “Startup Circles” is one such example. The program was launched in Mexico earlier this year and now it’s open in Colombia.
Considering quarantines, this may not be the best time for founders and experts to get together (at least in person). However, networking programs will play a pivotal role in connecting entrepreneurs with much-needed mentoring and funding opportunities to cope with these uncertain times.
Facebook in Colombia
The social media giant has taken quite an interest in this Latin American country. Last December, it inaugurated a hub as well as its “Developer Circles” program in Bogotá.
Now through “Startup Circles”, Colombian entrepreneurs participate in special events and receive mentoring to scale their businesses and improve their products. Plus, they’re brought closer to opportunities like Facebook’s accelerator program.
At the moment, it’s open to 30 early-stage startups. Nonetheless organizers hope to end the year with 160. To apply, check out this page.
In any case, large tech corporations have been eyeing Latin American markets and making their moves for some time now. For example, eBay launched a program to stimulate e-businesses in Mexico. Google is opening a data center in Uruguay and Amazon Web Services is expanding in Brazil.
Through these programs they push for digitization within the region—but it’s not just for philanthropic reasons. As markets digitize, there come business opportunities for themselves.
Win-win… I guess?
Colombia’s startup ecosystem
So what was it about Colombia that has Facebook’s attention? There are multiple things to consider.
First off, it’s the second-largest Spanish-speaking market in the region. And Colombians love using their cell phones. According to the Mobile Industry Association of Colombia (Asomóvil) the country is home to 23.8 million users who surf the internet through their phone.
And what are their favorite social media apps? According to a Deloitte survey, WhatsApp and Facebook.
And while Colombia is well-known for being the home of unicorn Rappi, there’s more to this Latam country than that. Its ecosystem harbors some hidden gems that are worth scouring and watching.
Medellín for example is gaining ground as a hub specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) tech. Startup Platzi is another contender to watch as it scales its e-learning platform.
Usually, Brazil and Mexico hog all the attention when it comes to their startup ecosystems. But don’t underestimate Colombia.
The post about “Facebook launches Startup Circles program in Colombia. Are you in?" first appeared on the Contxto website.
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