This past Wednesday, more than 70 entrepreneurs attended the first Ideation Bootcamp in Medellin set up by Ruta N, an agency set up by the city to promote innovation, and the Founder Institute, the largest startup accelerator in the world. Attendees practiced their pitches and interacted with a cadre of speakers including a videoconference with Andres Barreto, founder and President of NY Startup OnSwipe (and founder of PulsoSocial).
Though Bogota, the capital, is Colombia’s largest city, Medellin has some unique strengths. Only a few months ago, the city joined San Francisco, California in winning the 2012 Sustainable Transport Award and Hewlett-Packard decided to build a Global Services Center there. Such achievements are a result of concerted efforts to improve and to position the city on the global stage. Now, the city has set its sites on fortifying its digital startup ecosystem.
Ruta N was established several years back to promote innovation and have already been able to produce some early results in industries such as biotech. Now, Ruta N has teamed up with the Founder Institute to help grow Medellin startups. The Ideation Bootcamp was held by both organizations as the first major event focused on engaging the city’s growing group of digital entrepreneurs.
Juan Pablo Ortega, Ruta N’s Executive Director, kicked off the event with some words concerning the organizations objectives in teaming up with the Founder Institute and promoting digital entrepreneurs’ efforts to build and grow enduring and meaningful businesses. This was followed by presentations by myself, as Director of the institute in Colombia and Brian Reale, founder and CEO of ProcessMaker, a global business process software company. Also, Carlos Rozo, Founder Institute graduate and CEO of Thotz, an information visualization software company, spoke of his experiences within the program.
During the pitch workshop, founders were asked to come up on stage and follow a simple one-sentence template to describe their company. After executing their pitch, a group of judges composed of the aforementioned speakers rated their performance and provided feedback. One some occasions, their peers also provided ratings and suggestions.
Dinner was provided during the break and drinks at the end of the event providing unique opportunities for networking companies, mentors and facilitators. The Medellin semester is scheduled to commence in the middle of May with some founders already accepted. The nightly sessions will take place every Wednesday in Ruta N’s new office complex scheduled to open in the coming weeks.