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Supporting entrepreneurs in Colombia

5 July 2010

Colombia is a vibrant country with an entrepreneurial spirit and at Bavaria, SABMiller's Colombian Business, we have been working for several years to support and nurture entrepreneurs through our initiative ‘Destapa Futuro' implemented by Bavaria´s Foundation.

Destapa Futuro has been running for three years and over this time has supported the creation of 184 businesses and invested over $6m US in training, mentoring and assessing business plans for more than 1,000 entrepreneurs.

There are two types of entrepreneurial efforts in Colombia: firstly, those having a local impact that generate jobs and focus on small or medium local markets; and secondly, innovative projects with a high growth potential, greater complexity and greater economic and social ambitions.

The main challenge for the second kind of innovative projects is finding private capital to develop their business. The Entrepreneurs may have already depleted their own resources and those of their friends and relatives, as well seed capital granted through Destapa Futuro. But they are not yet sufficiently established to meet bank credit criteria. And Colombia currently has no facility within the financing system for this type of entrepreneurship.

With that in mind, Bavaria decided to initiate the first ever network of Angel Investors in Colombia to complement the work being done through Destapa Futuro. Whilst the concept may be well known elsewhere in the world, it is new to Colombia - individuals who provide capital to new businesses in the earlier stages and mentoring to the entrepreneurs. The investors also offer advice and business connections to the fledgling businesses.

Over 3 months we've worked with some of the entrepreneurs of Destapa Futuro to find the most appropriate projects which will, this week, be presented to a select group of invited Angel Investors.  These investors will be members of the First Angel Investors Network of Colombia.

We have great hopes for the programme, we want to share information and best practices among networks in the region; raise awareness with the public officials about importance of angel activity for economic development; accelerate our entrepreneurs' development and to promote cross border investment using financial sources across the region and abroad.

In addition, and in order to promote the transformational potential of entrepreneurship, we have this week launched a national TV reality program based on entrepreneurship.

It's an exciting project to be involved in and we look forward to seeing the difference it makes to Colombia's entrepreneurs, communities and economy in the long term.

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