Some 10 years ago, maybe a little bit more, I was trying to make my first large entrepreneurship a reality. At that time we analyzed with my business partners, different mechanism to finance the project. Among the options we analyzed, we included a bank loan, government funding, loans from friends and family and venture risk capital. We came to the conclusion that the best and only viable alternative, was the last one, however at the time it was very difficult to find a venture capital firm in Latin America, that is where we were developing the project.
I can’t say that back then there were no venture capital firms in Latin America. There were a few, however almost all of them funded ventures that were very expensive (several millions of dollars) and in more traditional fields, like oil exploration. For smaller projects like the one we had, there were no options.
For some years I’ve seen to my surprise, that several venture capital firms have made their way into Latin America and created to serve these smaller projects that appear in this vicinity. One of the interesting aspects is that many of these firms come from abroad, but there are also local players. I’ve seen a couple of venture capitalist that comes from Europe, mainly from Spain. One reason for this can be the financial crisis of the past years, which made this firms look for new horizons.
As I said, there are also local firms. For example, from Colombia, my country, a couple of firms were created by some of the largest financial groups in the country. For me it’s quite clear that they saw how the entrepreneurship movement was energizing the economy and they wanted to be a part of it.
I must explain that the case of Colombia is very clear for me, because is the country where I live and where I get most of my information, businesses and more. That being said, I’ve seen a similar pattern in other economies of the region but as you can imagine, this isn’t true for every country of Latin America. In the case of Colombia, the country has been benefited due to a growing economy and public policies that are helping the entrepreneurship arena, also allied with private and multilateral organisms. Again, this pattern is present in other countries, but I believe Colombia is a leader, something that can be seen in the GEM and Doing Business reports.
Finally, I believe there is another element that has enabled the creation of venture capital firms throughout Latin America. With the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, most economies worldwide suffered, but Latin America was the exception. This helped the region to bring new projects, plus the entrepreneur movement has catapulted the region.
Currently I’m not seeking venture capital for any of my projects, but if I was, I know it’ll be easier now to have finance than it was 10 years ago. Currently it’s a great time to create a new business and have financial aid in the region, in particular with Colombia.
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