The entrepreneurial force in Peru is already internationally recognized. Programs and contests such as StartUP Perú value and reward these companies to consolidate their markets. In this sixth generation, which included 76 national startups, more than S/5 million was invested.
For Luis José Giove, Head of Incubation at Emprende UP, the news consolidates the years of work strengthening companies based on innovation and technology, "with great pride we can say that for the first time the UP Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Emprende UP) has taken first place among the local incubators and accelerators in terms of the largest number of ventures benefited from this contest".
Since December 2013, StartUp Perú, contest of the Ministry of Production, has allocated more than S/25 million to 347 ventures in 18 regions of the country in its six calls and three challenges.
"The State has alloted significant resources and efforts to developing skills in managers of incubators/accelerators, funding innovative start-ups, building up networks of angel investors and lately regional entrepreneurship ecosystems and venture capital funds. If we add to this the fact that different actors have joined (corporate, mentors, press, investors), we are optimistic about the synergies that are being generated and the opportunities for the future", says Giove.
According to a study conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), StartUp Perú has been the engine of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. In a similar vein, this program has had an impact on the creation of companies: 5 of 10 ideas are implemented thanks to this support.
Emprende UP's winning startups include: Hello Zum, Weeshing, Tasa Top, Mamalama Snacks, Wear and Loop, Billex, UKU, Wabu, Venlo.es, PrestaMype, Rextie and Agente Cash.
For this contest we made alliances with different entrepreneurship centers within the country to develop and introduce innovative ventures with potential. The results were positive as one of them (UKU, in collaboration with the S360 incubator from Universidad Privada Antenor Orrego – UPAO - Trujillo) was awarded S/. 50,000. For future contests we will maintain these alliances and hope to increase the number of beneficiaries (not only in La Libertad but also in other regions).
Note N°1: Of the (12) projects that were presented by Emprende UP and were awarded the funds, (03) are in our Incubation program -Mamalama Snacks, Billex, Venlo-, (04) are in our acceleration program - Tasa Top, Prestamype, Rextie and Agente Cash - while the rest are external.
Note N°2: In the 5th Generation of StartUp Perú, we got (09) beneficiaries equivalent to S/. 700,000 in seed capital while in the 4th Generation of StartUp Perú only (02) beneficiaries equivalent to S/. 100,000 (in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation we did not get any beneficiary).
Note N°3: At the end of June/2018, Emprende UP had (18) companies in its Incubation program and (08) companies in its Acceleration program.
Among Emprende UP's benefited startups is Mamalama Snacks, an entrepreneurial bet for healthy snacks made from Peruvian superfoods such as Andean grains, yacon and maca. Created in 2016 by Daniela Belmont and Natalie Prutsky, the brand has grown due to its innovative approach inside and outside the Peruvian market.
One of the founders and also graduate of Universidad del Pacífico School of Business, Natalie Prutsky, points out that "we believe that Peruvian superfoods, together with our great gastronomic tradition, are the perfect combination to create super snacks".
Some of the pending bets of Mamalama Snacks are to continue innovating in the development of products, strengthen their work team and also enhance the promotion of their brand, especially in the foreign market. "The acceptance and buyback ratio is very high in our target audience; that motivates us to move forward," she says.
According to Prutsky, "as Mamalama Snacks, we are very grateful for the recognition and validation of the opportunity we identified as business and the work we have been doing. StartUp Perú financial support helps us to advance the implementation of some initiatives that we had designed for the medium term, allowing us to accelerate our growth", says Prutsky.
From entrepreneur to entrepreneur
Another innovative startup is Prestamype, which belongs to Carlos Ferreyros, a graduate of Universidad del Pacífico School of Business, a company that connects micro and small entrepreneurs who need a loan for their business with investors seeking a higher return on their savings.
According to Ferreyros, "given that we already have a year and a half in the market and we have achieved excellent results, the prize won will be invested entirely in expanding the company through different axes such as: reaching more entrepreneurs, developing more and better systems that allow us to scale the company and develop new complementary products".
Expansion is a priority for Prestamype, as Ferreryros points out. They are currently seeking to maintain the accelerated growth and continuous improvement mindset. By 2019 they plan to venture into at least one more country which probably belongs to the Pacific Alliance.
"We have had a good reception from the public since from the beginning we studied in detail every aspect of the business both legal and financial as well as technological and we always had social responsibility in mind. One of our main objectives has been to contribute with the parties involved, both those who receive the loan and those who invest in the projects of the entrepreneurs as well as with society as a whole. We are convinced that this mindset, in addition to giving us a lot of personal satisfaction has attracted many customers interested in working with us under those conditions", he says.
Among the difficulties that a startup can face, according to the Prestamype representative, is the fact that "our products/services are not known and we have to provide a lot of information until the first customers arrive, which is usually expensive; there are not many funding channels for startups and they depend almost exclusively on the capital from partners, family and enthusiasts. Finding talent is usually expensive since you compete for it with large companies. You need to find people who want to co-create a company and take on great challenges."