ENTREPRENEURSHIP / SEP. 25, 2013
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Bogota: A Rising Tech Hub in South America

Colombia is the third biggest economy in South America. Its capital, Bogota has always been surrounded by the shadow of corruption and violence; in 2002, when President Uribe came to power, the country faced negotiations with the guerrilla group FARC and a significant unemployment rate.

However, things have changed a lot in the last 9 years. In 2010, Uribe got the support of the United States, which meant that the country was able to bring back control and public order. Colombia became a respectful country in the eyes of Americans and investments in the country started growing.

Nowadays, Bogota is considered a peaceful and friendly place. Investors benefit from tax breaks and government support when starting up technological businesses and investing in projects in the South American country.

Until recently, Latin American entrepreneurs seeking success had to relocate to Palo Alto (California), New York or Tel Aviv, where the great centers of innovation are. But things are changing. Bogota, has more than 115 Higher Education Institutions, of which 100,400 tech specialists graduate each year. These figures make Bogota an attractive place for companies that want to launch their start up projects in a competitive and growing environment.

We can say that Colombia is becoming a great place for innovation, entrepreneurs and investments. Two of the principle examples of this are below:

Wayra

The telecommunications project Wayra is a very illustrative example of how Colombia is welcoming tech businesses. The project was started by Telefonica some years ago and today they have become one of the biggest engineering teams in South America, developing more than 10 start up technological projects such as Dashbell.

StarBull

Another great success story is that of Santiago Pineda. He is a 24 year old economist and has the potential to be one of the youngest and most successful entrepreneurs in Colombia. It all started three years ago when he discovered that his country had no financial education tools. He then asked to make a stock exchange simulator for beginners, but it cost about $20,000. With no money in his pocket, he spent hours in his college library learning how to program and design his own simulator. His research soon developed into the social media platform – StarBull.

Santiago created StarBull so users can exchange knowledge, try investment strategies and learn about how to invest in stocks. The users of his platform are not only from Colombia, but Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

"There is no kind of risk. You can have a virtual currency and real actions to negotiate real prices, so try different investment strategies.“ explained Santiago.

Columbia’s reputation as a technological and entrepreneurial hub is fast preceding itself. Influential investors from around the world comment favourably on Columbia’s support of tech projects.

Doug Richard, a renowned British entrepreneur that has invested over $ 180 million in venture projects worldwide, described the South American country as follows: "Colombia is part of the group of countries who are having a growth spurt, but many people haven’t discovered it yet." 

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