Category Archives: General Articles

Edmonton, Canada Startup Ecosystem

With a population of over 972,223 people and as Canada’s 5th largest city, Edmonton is the capital of Alberta and known as one of Canada’s sunniest cities. With global companies such as Google investing in this city, it comes as no surprise that this sunny city is becoming one of Canada’s biggest players in the tech world. 

Edmonton claimed rank 91 in the StartupBlink 2020 Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report, moving up from 95 in 2019. 

For Edmonton’s rankings in the Startup Blink Global map click here

Unique Ecosystem Advantages:

  • Top 100 Startup Ecosystem 
  • Best city for 15-29 year olds in Canada
  • One of 3 national hubs of the Canadian AI strategy
  • 20+ organizations offering incubation programs and services
  • Home to the third-best university incubator in the world (TEC Edmonton)

Overview of Edmonton’s Startup Ecosystem 

From data collected by the StartupBlink 2020 Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report, the GDP per capita is $67,302. Additionally, the average cost of living is 37% cheaper than London. This makes Edmonton an affordable city that provides startups with strategic geographical access to many larger tech hubs within Canada. Canada is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and has some of the most tech-advanced cities. 

According to the World Bank, Canada is one of the most exemplary countries when it comes to stability, sustainable prosperity, and economic inclusion. Home to over 394 tech companies Edmonton is one of Western Canada’s most dynamic start-up ecosystems. As one of Canada’s youngest populations, home to over 125,000 students the city is filled with innovation and talent. One of it’s leading education establishments is The University of Alberta which is consistently ranked in the global top three for AI & Machine Learning. Furthermore TEC Edmonton hosts the third-best university incubator in the world. 

Edmonton is amongst some of the best cities in the world and situated in one of the most technologically advanced countries worldwide, this city is bustling with opportunity and provides an excellent ecosystem for start-ups. Edmonton’s over performing verticals are energy and the environment, boasting an ecosystem which encourages start-ups to think environmentally, as well as health, with start-ups in the healthcare systems ranking Edmonton at number 31 globally. 

What gives Edmonton a competitive advantage? 

Edmonton is Western Canada’s most prominent startup hub. With one of Canada’s youngest populations and 6 higher education establishments, Edmonton produces over 550 tech-sector graduates each year. Worth mentioning is that 5 of the top scientists at Google are University of Alberta graduates. With an increasing number of these talented graduates wanting to spend more time in the vibrant metropolitan city of Edmonton it has transformed into one of the best cities in Canada for 15 to 29 year olds. 

As well as hosting an increasingly young and educated population Edmonton boasts a collaborative community with a variety of institutions working together to shape Edmonton’s future into one of an innovative ecosystem. The municipal government currently has six innovation projects as part of its priorities (Health City Initiative, Open Data Portal, CITYLab, Business Technology Strategy, Autonomous Vehicle Pilot Project, Smart City.). 

Edmonton has a favourable tax market and boasts some of the lowest taxes in the country. There are no provincial sales tax, no payroll tax, no health care premiums, and some of the lowest personal and corporate income taxes in Canada. Edmonton is also 37% cheaper to live in than London, low home prices paired with high median incomes make Edmonton one of the most affordable cities in Canada. 

Lastly one of the most prominent developments within the city of Edmonton is the increase in start-ups and research based projects focused on AI and Machine Learning. With an ecosystem which feeds talented young minds into the community, the fields of AI and Machine learning are growing quickly. The development of the tech ecosystems is one of the most attractive competitive advantages of this Canadian city. 

Tech development and Social Enterprise 

A big focus for the Edmonton startup ecosystem is tech development, most notably software orientated development. Edmonton’s technology and innovation ecosystem are evolving rapidly. As one of 3 national hubs of the Canadian AI strategy, research and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) tools is one of Edmonton, and its region, biggest strengths. Examples of successful AI startups include Medo AI, Nanoprecise Sci Corp, and Gabbi AI. Edmonton offers startups in tech and AI an incredible ecosystem for them to thrive in, with some of the best researchers and creators finding themselves in the region, all collaborating to generate real investment opportunities in artificial intelligence. 

Social enterprise is another factor that contributes to Edmonton’s startup ecosystem success. Home to the third-best university incubator in the world at TEC Edmonton, the city offers some of the best incubation programs and services. Startup Edmonton is an excellent example of some of the organisations working towards developing Edmonton into a hub for start-ups. 

Collaboration in Innovation

While larger Canadian cities keep sliding backward and losing momentum, ecosystems like Edmonton make sure that Canada has alternatives and keeps pushing forward with innovation. Edmonton has achieved a blossoming startup ecosystem through having a public sector that is engaged in actively developing their private sector and entrepreneurs.

According to the Mayor of Edmonton, Don Iveson, ‘Edmonton is becoming a primary mover in the global tech community. And it is happening fast. Google has invested in Edmonton. Stantec just opened its door to the largest tower in Canada west of Toronto. We have the University of Alberta, NAIT and the Advanced Technology Centre as well as numerous tech-led companies all leading the way in advanced research and innovation right here in Edmonton.’ 

Edmonton has developed an impressive coworking community and has many options for startups looking to network and share workspaces with like minded companies. This is a leading factor to Edmonton’s success as it allows different startups to work together to create synergy within the ecosystem. Coworking spaces like Round House, Unit B, and Work Nicer Coworking are examples of some of Edmonton’s startup and coworking hubs.

Response to COVID-19 

Canada has invested a lot of money to support startups and SMEs during the pandemic. For example, by providing $250 million to the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program to assist innovative, early-stage companies and by providing $20.1 million to Futurpreneur Canada to continue to support young entrepreneurs across Canada. 

As part of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification Canada has invested $1.3 million to provide support to Alberta startups in order to help ecosystem growth during the pandemic. The Innovation Relief and Recovery Program is designed to provide COVID relief and recovery funding for pre-and post-revenue high potential, high growth, technology, or knowledge-based startups in Alberta.

Promising Startups

Edmonton has 162 currently active startups on the StartupBlink map. The city excels in technology and innovation focused startups. Here are some of the most interesting startups from the list.

Zept – helps international students get into the best schools possible using an algorithm that recommends schools matching their goals and abilities.

Drivewyze – delivers unsurpassed time-saving and cost-effective driving solutions to commercial vehicle operators and carriers.

MEDO.ai – AI platform that makes ultrasound workflow faster, more reliable and accessible to all.

Accelerators and Initiatives

With a large variety of accelerator programs and initiatives, Edmonton’s startup ecosystem stands out from other cities in North America. Edmonton offers a plethora of funding and opportunities, especially to startups, through a number of programs. Below is a list of some of Edmonton’s most prominent accelerator programs and initiatives:

Student DevCon – An annual event that encourages students to start planning for life after school founded by Startup Edmonton. This initiative focuses on connecting students with local companies and startups to gain hands-on experience and learn about the career opportunities available to them. 

Talent Program Startup Edmonton – Another initiative by Startup Edmonton this program focuses on fostering relationships between companies and students. These students are potential employees and this relationship allows for companies to teach students valuable life skills which will be important for their future careers, whilst inspiring them to pursue careers in the startup ecosystem of Edmonton. 

Edmonton Innovation Ecosystem Community (EIEC)– This community is made up of a network of service providers, entrepreneurs and investors who are allahabad dedicated in creating an environment which will facilitate future developments in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. This is an open group who gather once a month to share news and strategize about expanding the innovation ecosystem in Edmonton. 

YEG Innovation Compass – Led by Edmonton-based Marketing firm ZGM this entrepreneur engagement efforts is committed in shaping the future of Edmonton’s innovation ecosystem and have developed five priority action areas to focus the efforts of the community. 

Edmonton Advisory Council on Startups (EACOS)– This diverse group was formed in 2018 to act as the voice of their respective entrepreneurial communities. Today they act as important advocates for Edmonton’s tech-enabled startup community. 

SingularityU Canada Summit – In April 2019 Edmonton hosted the SingularityU Canada Summit, Canada’s leading innovation and technology summit. Expert panel presentations, open discussions and product demos allowed attendees to experience the future empowering a global community of innovators. 

Community Events – The Edmonton Startup community hosts hundreds of events each year including meet-ups, workshops, conferences and forums which educate and inform the entrepreneurs, investors and service providers of Edmonton providing one of the most dynamic startup innovation scenes and ecosystems in Canada. 

Key Organizations

Edmonton’s success is thanks to a variety of organizations and businesses who work together to create an ecosystem for startups which is filled with innovation and education. Some of the organizations listed below have devoted their time to create a welcoming community, especially for startups: 

Innovate Edmonton – Innovate Edmonton is a new non-profit entity formed in May 2020 by Edmonton’s City Council and led by an independent Board focused on supporting and guiding the innovation community in Edmonton to build and prosper.  Innovate Edmonton contributes to Edmonton’s economic growth and diversification through the creation of new tech-enabled businesses, by helping high potential businesses scale, and by inspiring action to fuel growth in the city’s innovation and entrepreneurship community.

Startup Edmonton – Supporting entrepreneurs as they build and grow tech-enabled products is at the heart of everything we do. We’re here to help you each step of the way with mentorship & programs, coworking space, community events, and lots of support to grow your team. Since 2009, we have brought together entrepreneurs, developers, students, founders, mentors, & investors to transform ideas into some of Canada’s most exciting and successful startup & scaling companies.

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs – Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enabling women to build successful businesses. AWE provides unique programs and services to women at all stages of business through advising, financing, mentoring, and skills and network development.

BusinessLink – Find the most relevant funding, get free startup advice, training and market research, and access the knowledge and tools you need to plan and grow your business.

Startup Summary

Given the remote location of a city like Edmonton from the main cities of Canada, it’s extremely impressive to see how well this startup ecosystem is doing. Edmonton is not only a top 100 startup ecosystem city but is also performing exceptionally in the energy, environment and health verticals.

To summarize, Edmonton is a city that excels in providing its startups with the means to grow. Through innovation, collaboration and public sector facilitation, Edmonton has seen outstanding results in their startup ecosystem development. 

For more information on startup ecosystems download the Startup Blink 2020 Global Report

EP-14: Startup Development Trend Projections for 2021 (The StartupBlink Ecosystem Summit)


This is the second episode of a three-part series taken from the second edition of the StartupBlink Ecosystem Summit event (January 26, 2021). Some of the world’s foremost experts and leaders in ecosystem development discuss startup trend projections for 2021

The StartupBlink Ecosystem Summit is a quarterly gathering of some of the world’s foremost experts and leaders in ecosystem development and offers a forum for learning and knowledge-sharing on what it takes to create an environment where entrepreneurship flourishes.

StartupBlink is the world’s most comprehensive startup ecosystem map and research center, working with more than 50 municipalities and governments worldwide. Its global startup ecosystem map has tens of thousands of registered startups, coworking spaces, and accelerators, creating a robust sample of innovation globally.

In order to help our partners further their brand recognition and generate leads in the tech industry of their choice, StartupBlink builds vertical maps, Helping them to position their company as a thought-leader at the forefront of their industry.

Find out more here!

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Somalia Startup Ecosystem

Somalia has a population of almost 16,000,000 people and is Africa’s most culturally homogenous country with 85% of citizens ethnic to Somalia. Somalia was first featured in the global rankings of the StartupBlink 2020 Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report at rank 95. This is a relatively strong position considering the last 30 years of Somalia’s history. 

For Somalia’s rankings in the Startup Blink Global map click here

Unique Ecosystem Advantages:

  • Excels at producing software and data innovations
  • Great opportunities for renewable energy
  • Saas is emerging rapidly in the country
  • Lots of public investment opportunities
  • Mogadishu is the most innovative startup ecosystem in Somalia

Overview of Mogadishu’s Startup Ecosystem 

Mogadishu is the most innovative city in Somalia. The public sector and local entrepreneurs have worked hard to foster high quality innovations aimed at solving some of the country’s biggest problems. At rank 587, Mogadishu ranked relatively high in 2020.  Additionally, Mogadishu took 14th spot of Africa’s 36 ranked cities, an impressive feat and evidence of innovation being built under tough economic circumstances.

From data collected by the StartupBlink 2020 Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report, the GDP per capita of Mogadishu is $315. Additionally, the average cost of living is 73% cheaper than London. This makes Mogadishu an affordable city that provides startups with strategic access to the coastline on the horn of Africa.

According to information collected by the World Bank, Somalia has a ranking of 190 for ease of doing business and it is estimated that opening a new company in Somalia takes about 70 days. This is one of the slowest average times for opening a new company in the world and entrepreneurs looking to bring their startups to Somalia will have to take this into account. 

Mogadishu is by far the most prominent startup ecosystem in Somalia, however it is not the only one in this region. Hargeisa is another city with a budding innovation hub that has a lot of activity and growth. Through fundamental policies and a few key initiatives the city of Hargeisa has developed a significant startup ecosystem that we expect to see much more of in the coming years. 

Public Investment Opportunities

Somalia benefits from accessible foreign direct investment laws that allow for flexibility on investment opportunities. According to the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of the Federal Government of Somalia, “Trade and investment are the key drivers of development that will ensure Somalia plays the fullest role in a changing and interdependent world. In support of this goal, Somalia has adopted one of the most flexible foreign investment laws in the world. This Investment law, most importantly, treats both foreign and national investors as enjoying similar economic and social advantages.” 

Somalia is one of the most mineral and resource rich countries in Eastern Africa and despite its many years of civil unrest the economy maintained an informal, yet stable, status largely due to its mineral resources and exportation of livestock. With a democracy established and a President elected in 2012, the country has been working towards restoring itself as a regional hub for commerce, transportation, trade and industry. The government is now determined to restore the country and there has never been a better time to invest in Somalia.

With this in mind Somalia boasts one of the most internationally competitive Investment Laws. It provides investors with flexible incentives to ensure all their needs are met effectively and efficiently. It also provides investors with various incentives in the national priority sectors. 

The most prominent of these sectors is the energy sector. Somalia has the highest resource potential of any African nation for onshore wind power, making it a great place for startups focused on renewable energy. The long-term objective of the Somali government is to create a renewable energy centred market that takes advantage of Somalia’s favourable renewable energy potential, such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and tidal. Investments in these sectors are highly encouraged. 

International Aid and Assistance

Due to its history of instability and unrest Somalia has benefited from International Aid and Assistance for well over 30 years. The aid from International organizations such as the United Nations has helped not only rebuild the country but also has provided the right infrastructure to be built that can support the growing startup ecosystem.

The Government of Somalia has a positive attitude towards foreign direct investment at the federal and regional level. Gulf Arab states have started to make strategic investments in the country, with Saudi Arabia building livestock export infrastructure and the United Arab Emirates purchasing large tracts of farmland for commercial agriculture. The increase of trade and commerce since the civil war has boosted the local economy and many cities in the region have benefited, especially Mogadishu. 

Collaboration and Innovation 

The Response Innovation Lab has done an extraordinary job working on the research and promotion of the Somalian startup ecosystem. We were inspired to see how this organization is working around the world to showcase and develop innovation, together with local governments, in locations that almost never receive the spotlight. Very few would imagine that Somalia, with its challenging situation, has a growing startup ecosystem.

After mapping the ecosystem of Somalia with help of the Response Innovation Lab, we have seen that there are innovative projects in the country that we never would have imagined. The Somali ecosystem has a lot of potential, and organizations like the Response Innovation Lab are helping to fulfill it.

Response to COVID-19 

In order to prepare Somalia for the coming pandemic, the Somali Response Innovation Lab built awareness of the virus through public health messaging. Through early support of the development of free use content that is endorsed by the government, critical information about the virus was shared on social media and through different communication channels to ensure that the Somali public was aware of the threat and informed on how to stay safe.

Along with help from the United Nations, the government in Somalia has implemented cash disbursement through mobile phones. By sending electronic vouchers by text message, that can be redeemed for seeds, tools, irrigation and storage to over 40,000 farmers. This has helped boost the local economy and avoid supply chain delays caused by COVID-19. 

Top Startups 

Mogadishu has 24 startups on the StartupBlink map that are currently creating solutions to local and national problems. The city excels in producing software and data innovations within the African context. Here are some of the most interesting startups from the list.

OGOW – A startup that provides electronic medical records (EMR) and a practical management system designed specifically for hospitals and clinics in Somalia

Gulivery – A startup that provides a delivery service platform for order fulfillment in Mogadishu and Hargeisa. 

SolarGen – A regional renewable energy and water solutions provider. It is a distributor with strong technical expertise in the region.

Accelerators and Initiatives 

According to data from StartupBlink, Mogadishu has 6 key accelerator programs that help support it’s startup ecosystem with funding and opportunities. The city also benefits from initiatives aimed at promoting investment in different industries. Here are the most important accelerators and initiatives in Somalia.

Sominvest – The Investment Promotion Office (SOMINVEST) helps to promote foreign direct investment, rebrand Somalia and advocates for improved investment policies.

Somali Technology Association Centre – An IT Hub that was founded in 2018 by a group of young educated Somalis based in Mogadishu. It was created out of UNDP’s Future Ready bootcamp and has created a startup that offers tech training as a service.

iRise – An innovation hub in Mogadishu with the aim of building and empowering young entrepreneurs. It offers creative workspaces as well as fully furnished office spaces to help startups innovate and network.

Innovate Ventures – Innovate Ventures is a leading Somali startup accelerator and early-stage startup fund. Their innovative accelerator program is a three month intensive incubator that provides entrepreneurs support and investment opportunities.

Key Organizations

Response Innovation Lab – Foster partnerships that develop, pilot and scale innovations that overcome context-specific problems or barriers to the delivery of aid and community recovery.

Somali Resilience Innovation Lab – An interagency partnership offering effective innovations to enhance the impact of humanitarian and development interventions to improve the resilience of the Somali people.

Startup Summary

Although Mogadishu has seen difficult times in the past, through public and international organizations and the promotion of key acceleration initiatives, Mogadishu has proven itself as a top 100 global startup ecosystem with potential.

Ultimately, Mogadishu is a city that is fostering its startup ecosystem in order to produce some high quality solutions to Somalia’s problems. The city is able to fund and promote the right startups and with some support from international organizations and improvement of the city’s infrastructure, the city could develop a strong startup ecosystem in Africa. 

For more information on startup ecosystems download the Startup Blink 2020 Global Report

Cali Colombia Startup Ecosystem

Cali is the most important cultural and economic capital of Southwestern Colombia one of the most prominent and innovative cities in Colombia that has been working hard to promote its budding startup ecosystem through government support and investment. The city has a population of around 2,500,000 people and is culturally and ethnically diverse.

With a rank of 330, the city of Cali is being featured for the first time in the StartupBlink 2020 Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report. The city has claimed a keystone position that they are looking to develop in the future.

For Cali’s rankings in the Startup Blink Global map click here

Unique Ecosystem Advantages:

  • 3rd most innovative startup ecosystem in Colombia
  • 2 of the 3 most important startup acceleration programs of the country are set in Cali
  • More than 2,000 companies with high impact potential.
  • $4 million investment in the startup ecosystem in 2020
  • High level of support for startups from the public sector 
  • Network of 164 consultants available to help guide companies in their organizational challenges
  • Exclusive Intelligent Capital Network made up of leaders in the region called Polux
  • 9 Clusters: Experiences, Macrosnacks, Smart Energy, Fashion System, Beauty, Clinical Excellence, White Protein, Urban Habitat and Digital Economy
  • Rigorous data from more than 5,000 companies that allow measuring the impact of entrepreneurship programs’ ValleE and Valle Impacta

Overview of Cali’s Startup Ecosystem

From data compiled by the StartupBlink 2020 Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report, the GDP per capita is $4,917. Furthermore, the average cost of living is 70% cheaper than London. Additionally, Cali is only 2 hours away from the Port of Buenaventura, the most important port in Colombia and one of the 10 most important in Latin America. This makes Cali an affordable city providing startups with strategic geographic access to other regions. 

According to the World Bank, Colombia has a ranking of 67 for ease of doing business and it is estimated that opening a new company in Colombia takes only 10 days. This is one of the fastest turnovers for a Latin American startup.

Cali is the third most prominent startup ecosystem in Colombia and is rapidly closing the gap on Medellin and Bogota, boosting processes of public investment opportunities, technological development, social entrepreneurship, collaborative workspaces, and networks.

Public Investment Opportunities

 Cali is moving forward to strengths public investment that offsets the scaling of foreign direct investment, although recently Cali is getting more attention for investors.  Organizations such as the Cali Chamber of Commerce are committed to funding opportunities for startups to create an empowering environment for entrepreneurs. In addition, initiatives such as the Ley Naranaja (Orange Law in English) focus on protecting and supporting the creative and cultural industry efforts of Colombian entrepreneurs.

In recent years, angel investors have increasingly arrived in search of investment opportunities in the Cali region.  Within the education and fintech sectors, investors have funded a few startups, including Loopa and Tranqui. With a growing startup ecosystem, Cali might benefit from an increase in angel investors.

In the words of Cali Chamber of Commerce President Esteban Piedrahita, “Cali has seen the development of a strong entrepreneurship ecosystem with large corporations seeking startups looking for innovative solutions, investment, and a strong mentorship network of local business leaders.” 

Tech development and Social Enterprise 

A big focus for Cali’s startup ecosystem is technology development, especially software-oriented development. Although Cali’s ecosystem suffers from a lack of foreign direct investment, it benefits from the support of investors such as Creatic

Creatic is an educational center and technology incubator that partnered with Coderise, a coding boot camp that provides digital skills and programming training to hundreds of people in the city. This digital empowerment helps provide startups with a large pool of digitally savvy workers ready to tackle coding tasks.

In recent years, the participation of companies in the technology sector has become important. In the most recent version of the Acelera Región program, an initiative that trained 80 start ups from Valle del Cauca, 15% of the entrepreneurs belonged to the software sector.

Social enterprise is another factor that contributes to Cali’s startup ecosystem success. For example, Cali startups focus on solving social problems within the Colombian context before moving out to Bogota in order to take their product to market. One of the founders of Rappi, Colombia’s most promising Unicorn startup, is Simon Borrero from Cali. Rappi is South America’s leading online marketplace service for consumer goods and is a perfect example of how social enterprise is influencing the success of  Columbian startups.

Innovative Coworking Hubs

Cali has developed an impressive coworking community and has many options for startups looking to network and share workspaces with like minded companies. This is a major factor in Cali’s success, as it allows different startups to work together to create synergy within the ecosystem. Coworking spaces such as Inspiro Workstation and El Lab are the hubs of Cali’s startup ecosystem. 

El Lab in particular markets itself as an accelerator for startups looking to connect and build with others. Muelle Coworking is another great coworking hub in Cali that helps bring the startup community together to promote ideas and leverage connections between entrepreneurs.  

Aimed at the IT and science industry, ParqueSoft is a social enterprise that helps incubate startups and projects from marginalized communities in Colombia. This initiative’s  speciality is in science and technology startups but it supports a variety of projects, including art, marketing and business development. While acting as a networking platform, ParqueSoft provides education and training to help new startups gain experience in their chosen field. 

Response to COVID-19 

To combat the COVID-19 pandemic, startup-based innovations have been developed in Cali. For example, Rutadevida is a startup that has developed an app that uses contact tracing to identify if you have approached positive cases so that you can avoid possible contact. Another great innovation in Cali has been the development and production of ThermoDeep, a thermographic camera used to detect COVID-19 symptoms. 

A truly advanced project in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is the Ninus Vidabot, an intuitive virtual assistant that provides users with information about the virus. These startup innovations have helped to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the city of Cali and Colombia.

Additionally, Cali has different open innovation initiatives, among those, the cooperation between three companies belonging to the cluster initiatives: Spataro Napoli, Mainco Health Care and Deskansa. These companies allied to provide medical protection kits (pants, gowns, caps, gaiters) for nationally recognized insurance companies covering occupational risks.

In terms of regional aid to reactivate the economy, the Valle INN Reactivation Fund was created to support with supplies, machinery, equipment, and tools the business initiatives of those who were affected by the COVID 19 health emergency and who can prove residency in the municipality where they will participate.

Top Startups 

Cali has 21 startups that are actively working on different problems. The city excels in producing startups focused on technology and innovation with solutions to some of Colombia’s biggest problems. Here are some of the most interesting startups on the list.

Rappi – An innovative and robust online marketplace platform that increases accessibility to consumer and retail goods.

Truora – With a focus on preventing fraud in Latin American countries, Truora provides fast and safe solutions for background checks and identity theft detection. 

Grability – Aims to revolutionize mobile shopping for consumers through its platform that allows businesses to create online shopping experiences. 

Green assistance – We design innovative and sustainable solutions for structuring projects that require environmental implementation.

Kupi – Fintech that offers a social innovation platform through which companies and employee funds can enable members to purchase goods in certain establishments at 0 cost.

Prodigos – It is a startup which through a robust digital ecosystem offers alternatives to comprehensively improve the quality of life of families. Thanks to a digital system and  a team of human talent, the best caregivers for the elderly or highly qualified and talented home nurses are selected for the care of our loved ones.

Ecobot – It is an initiative that promotes more sustainable consumption habits, encouraging people to take responsibility for their waste, and take the first step towards a friendlier life with the planet. This is done through deposit machines, located in universities and shopping centers, where anyone can deposit plastic bottles, empty or full of packaging, and in exchange people receive discount coupons in restaurants, stores, apps, and associated brands, thus promoting a cultural change around recycling.

Accelerators and Initiatives 

Cali has two of the top three accelerator programs in Colombia, according to Crunchbase’s ranking: Valle Impacta in first place and ValleE or Acelera Región in 3rd place. Additionally, Cali has key accelerator programs and actors that help nurture the startup ecosystem with training and funding opportunities. Here are Cali’s most important initiatives and accelerators.

Valle Impacta – Business scaling program led by the Cali Chamber of Commerce and the Bolivar Davivienda Foundation, which transforms companies to the highest level in their different economic sectors, through accompaniment for extraordinary growth.  The program supports the design of the growth path of the companies by providing strategic direction and tools for rapid, profitable, and sustained growth, based on actions on findings in each of the companies served. In a cross-cutting manner, the companies are connected with knowledge, business, and investment networks as part of the comprehensive support offered by the program.

ValleE or Acelera Región – Program that seeks to accelerate the growth of innovative early-stage ventures in the regions of Colombia. It focuses on ventures with potential for rapid, profitable and sustained growth.

Valle INN – Entrepreneurship program that provides advice and support to startups that are in the ideation stage of a business or are just entering the market. This initiative has provided more than US$1 million in seed funding and has created more than 255 jobs.

ProColombia – A platform that promotes the export of Colombian goods and services, the expansion of Colombian companies, the attraction of foreign direct investment to Colombia, the positioning of the country as a tourist destination, and the Country Brand.

Invest Pacific – An initiative created by public-private sector cooperation to promote investment in the region and Cali.

REDDI – Technological development agency that solves business challenges based on specialized technological knowledge, promoting innovation and competitiveness.

Zonamerica – Colombia’s first free trade zone dedicated to services and technology.

The Orange Law – With the aim of promoting and protecting Colombia’s creative industries, the Orange Law or Ley Naranja creates incentives for new companies working within these industries.

MEC – Movimiento de Empresas Creativas in its three versions has focused on detonating creative and cultural industry companies in the city. In the 2020 version, it had a total of 917 virtual attendees and 508 in-person attendees.

Sistemas de Innovación – Innovation program that seeks to generate capabilities in companies through the creation and/or consolidation of Innovation Management Systems. This innovation training program has supported 186 companies.

Alianzas por la innovación – Innovation program that seeks to increase the number of companies with innovation capacity in order to increase regional competitiveness through the promotion of business innovation culture and strengths capabilities in companies to keep developing innovation projects. Thanks to this initiative, 635 companies in Valle del Cauca have been trained and boosted in innovation practices.

CEmprende – A space focused on strengthening entrepreneurship, where the university and the public and private sectors come together, seeking to promote the generation of employment in the region. It currently trains young innovators and high-impact companies and expects to serve around 10,000 entrepreneurs in the region.

Key Organizations

Cali has more than 60 entities that affect the entrepreneurship ecosystem, where around 90% of them have also an offer designed for high-impact ventures in the region. These entities nurture the ecosystem from different fronts: financial actors, unions, support entities, the media, public policy managers, and human capital developers. Some of these key actors are:

Cali Chamber of Commerce – The Cali Chamber of Commerce is committed to improving infrastructure and support networks for small businesses and start-ups to drive innovation throughout the region.

Universidad del Valle – Universidad del Valle also abbreviated as Univalle is a recognized institution of higher education in the Cali region. It provides funding and initiatives for some of the projects in ideation and early stage.

Universidad ICESI – Universidad is a private educational institution, founded by different companies in the region and has a focus on training in entrepreneurial and innovative skills. It has a Center for the Development of Entrepreneurship and a varied offer for entrepreneurs in their initial stages.

Gobernación del Valle – Entity in charge of the departmental administration covering the department of Valle del Cauca, of which Cali is the capital. The Governor’s Office is in charge of executing projects that favor entrepreneurship and business growth. The most outstanding strategy is the 9 INN Valley Centers that aim to serve 10,000 entrepreneurs per year.

Startup Summary

By taking an active approach to ecosystem development, Cali’s startup ecosystem has become a fundamental part of Colombia’s startup scene and a strategic centre of innovation in the Andes region of Latin America. 

Overall, Cali is a city with an up and coming startup ecosystem, aimed at producing innovative tech development and forward thinking solutions to some of Colombia’s biggest problems. The city has its sights set on becoming a leading startup ecosystem in Colombia and with some development of investment opportunities and startup curation, the city is well positioned to achieve this.

The city’s entrepreneurs have different features that distinguish them and make them unique: carry out projects despite obstacles, attentive in the market to explore and exploit an opportunity, manage scarce resources to launch their business, ability to face risks, tolerate uncertainty, among others. All the features mentioned above positions the city’s ecosystem as a space of resilience and opportunities for development.

For more information on startup ecosystems download the Startup Blink 2020 Global Report

EP-13: How to Promote Your Startup Ecosystem (The StartupBlink Ecosystem Summit)

In the first episode of a three-part series taken from the second edition of the StartupBlink Ecosystem Summit event (January 26, 2021), the StartupBlink CEO, Eli David gives a lecture on How to Promote a Startup Ecosystem.

The StartupBlink Ecosystem Summit is a quarterly gathering of some of the world’s foremost experts and leaders in ecosystem development, and offers a forum for learning and knowledge-sharing on what it takes to create an environment where entrepreneurship flourishes.

StartupBlink is the world’s most comprehensive startup ecosystem map and research center, working with more than 50 municipalities and governments worldwide. Its global startup ecosystem map has tens of thousands of registered startups, coworking spaces, and accelerators, creating a robust sample of innovation globally.

In order to help our partners further their brand recognition and generate leads in the tech industry of their choice, StartupBlink builds vertical maps, Helping them to position their company as a thought-leader at the forefront of their industry.

Find out more here!

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