November was an exciting month for Uruguay as its citizens voted to select their new president,Tabaré Vázquez. It was also a busy month for the players in the entrepreneurship ecosystem as they organized the country’s most inclusive Global Entrepreneurship Week to date. In total, 21 events were hosted by 15 organizations across the country with over 4,300 attendees. Attendees at events learnt what the many actors that contribute to a startup’s success, mentors, coaches, investors, industry experts and thought leaders among others already agree upon - that it takes a village to raise a startup.
President José Mujica visits Engineering Sample
Fundación Julio Ricaldoni’s Engineering Sample in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering held on November 14 and 15 was a powerful start to the week with 3,500 attendees. President José Mujica and the first lady Lucia Topolansky were among the visitors of the fair showcasing innovative new products by young firms addressing some of the key challenges of the country.
Women entrepreneurs from the region convened in Uruguay
“Mas Emprendedoras” seminar convened female entrepreneurs from across the region, bringing together over 350 women to listen to the stories of female Endeavor Entrepreneurs from various countries in Latin America such as Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
Loreto Seguel (Chile), Cecilia Retegui (Argentina), Sally Buberman (Argentina), Vanesa Durán(Argentina) and Elena Tejeira (Uruguay) shared their success stories as well as some of their challenges and failures throughout their journey during the seminar, co-organized by Bla Magazine.
Mentorship is the key to a startup’s success
Endeavor Uruguay, the official GEW host organization in Uruguay, organized the Endeavor Experience on November 21 focusing on the importance of mentorship in a startup’s development. Attended by 200 entrepreneurs from various stages and backgrounds, the event started with selected entrepreneurs sharing their experiences with their mentors.
Endeavor Experience continued into the afternoon with roundtables attended by prominent mentors in Uruguay giving the entrepreneurs the chance to get feedback on their startups and ideas.
Xeniors: Becoming an entrepreneur after 50
One of the highlights of the week was the Xeniors event on November 20, targeting senior entrepreneurs. The event started with a panel moderated by Gabriel Rozman with Paulina Rubio Baridon, founder of FASHIONBOX, Andrès Lalanne, angel investor, and Michel Cohen, co-founder of LOLITA, sharing their experiences in becoming an entrepreneur after the age of 50. The event continued with the announcement of the winners of the Senior Entrepreneurs Competition 2014.
GEW Uruguay also supported a number of competitions, workshops, pitches and events providing advice to entrepreneurs and forums for discussion. RAFE organized a closing ceremony for its “Ideas for Startups” competition, where the competitors had the chance to network with various players of the ecosystem. Khem incubator held a session on ‘Entrepreneurship and Biotechnology’, where entrepreneurs shared innovations in the field. ORT University introduced its entrepreneurship network, a space where entrepreneurs and the private sector can connect and promote innovation together.
Co-work Uruguay held session on leadership and team management at its location. Catholic University of Uruguay had a session providing tips for better negotiation for entrepreneurs.
Sinergia Cowork had an “Open Cowork” session to discuss social entrepreneurship with pitches from social entrepreneurs. JCI Uruguay had Entrepreneurship Tips sessions for its members throughout the week, consisting of young active citizens committed to creating impact in their community.
Red Espacio Emprendedor, Salto Emprende and Fundacion Rio Negro Ahora had Inland Entrepreneur workshops for entrepreneurs who do not live in the capital city with various themes to improve their startups, such as building confidence or a user-friendly workspace.
Other GEW partners included Agencia de Desarrollo de Paysandu and Union de Expordatores del Uruguay.