Business & Economy

IDB Lab warns of entrepreneurship difficulties in Latin America

Bogota, Jun 14 (EFE).- The manager of the Inter-American Development Bank’s innovation laboratory (IDB Lab), Irene Arias, has warned about the “delicate moment” that entrepreneurship is going through in Latin America, among other reasons, due to high-interest rates.

“It is difficult to raise capital in an environment of such high-interest rates, where there is a complicated macroeconomic environment and instability in general,” Arias said in an interview with EFE on Wednesday at the second IDB Lab forum in Bogota.

However, the manager remained optimistic by assuring that “it is not all bad news” since the region has a “very strong” entrepreneurial talent and companies that have original models and proposals that include “fundamental” advances such as production transformation.

“The issue of funding is affecting entrepreneurs a lot, but those who are staying are the most resilient and those who are making very innovative companies that can serve the rest of the world,” added Arias.


Among the companies prioritized by the IDB Lab for investment, the manager pointed out those that help “close the social inequality gap” in health, education, and even in access to financial services.

As an example, on the first day of the forum, Arias signed a project to finance the expansion of the current portfolio of credits offered by Agricapital, a company that aims to “unleash the productive potential of agricultural producers in vital territories through customized financing services, support, and knowledge.”

Another of the areas prioritized by the laboratory has to do with ventures that focus on climate innovation with the use of artificial intelligence and new materials.

IDB President Ilan Goldfajn said at the opening of the forum that “societies are demanding (…) to improve inequality, poverty, and deliver better public services in the areas of health, transportation, and digitization.”


One of the important themes of the day, which brought together investors, entrepreneurs, and corporations, was that of the silver economy, which, according to the founder of the start-up No Pausa, Miriam de Paoli, is regarded as “the third largest economy in the world.”

“We are the fastest aging region in the world,” added Data8 co-founder Layla Vallias during one of the panels, pointing out that there are needs that are not being met because of the taboo that aging represents in the region.

For her, they are not “diapers and geriatrics” but “silver pockets full of money that want to be seen.”

From the perspective of silver finance, the executive director of NudaProp, Constanza Boix, pointed out another problem the lack of financial education that, in general, exists in societies.


Another aspect of the forum had to do with the visibility of mental health in the entrepreneurship ecosystem as a factor that affects and can even cause failure.

This coincided with the launch of the study “The invisible factor: well-being and mental health to strengthen the high-impact entrepreneurial ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean” which includes, among other recommendations, the need to raise awareness of the phenomenon of burnout.

“Many times entrepreneurs are thought of as entrepreneur-heroes who don’t get tired, who fight tirelessly, fight, get (financing) rounds and sleep,” lamented IDB Lab’s head of Discovery, César Buenadicha, calling for an end to the myth about the mental health of entrepreneurs. EFE



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