The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Economic Development Lab (EDL) hosted a group of 12 professionals from Peru’s Universidad del Pacifico who sought to get a better understanding of entrepreneurial ecosystems and best practices for innovation development and support.
The group represents the university’s Emprende UP, which serves as its center for entrepreneurship and innovation. Emprende UP runs pre-incubation, incubation, and acceleration programs at the Universidad del Pacifico, a small, private Jesuit school and highly ranked in Peru and across Latin America.
“We chose Georgia Tech because the Tech model in entrepreneurship and innovation is similar to what we are doing in Peru,” said Javier Salinas, Emprende UP’s director. “At the end of our three days here, we recognized that we’re on the right track, but we can improve and refine our services for the Peruvian innovation ecosystem.
EDL, a program of Tech’s economic development arm, the Enterprise Innovation Institute, helps communities and organizations apply innovative ideas to economic development in business incubation and commercialization, strategic planning, and economic sustainability.
“The objective of this three-day immersion program at Tech was for the Emprende UP team to experience and learn from the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems here at the Institute and across Atlanta,” said Mónica Novoa, an EDL project manager.
“The group learned and acquired key insights and best practices by interacting with us, and with the invited speakers, entrepreneurs, and city officials through a series of intensive and experiential workshops.”
As part of that learning process, the Emprende UP team toured Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), which is the state’s technology incubator, and met with some of its startups in the financial technology (FinTech) sector.
The FinTech space was of particular interest because Emprende UP has spent the past 18 months developing an ecosystem around it and working with Peru’s banking regulators, leading financial institutions and international technology firms towards that initiative, Salinas said.
Beyond FinTech, the team focused on learning about other components that comprise successful innovation ecosystems, such as closer alignment with academics. They also saw how corporations seek to be near universities and tap into those schools’ research and innovation expertise.
In the past five years, more than 20 large corporations, including Delta Air Lines, AT&T, and Anthem, have opened corporate innovation centers in and around Technology Square to access the talents and technologies developed at Georgia Tech.
“The first takeaway is that we need to work more closely with the academia side — teachers and students,” said Martha Zúñiga, Emprende UP’s head of special projects. “The second takeaway is that Peru is just developing its innovation ecosystem and we have to support the growth of corporate innovation centers, because their inclusion is part of that ecosystem growth.”
EDL, which has had projects in 151 of Georgia’s 159 counties and more than six dozen initiatives in 9 countries, will be going to Peru in August as a follow up in continuing its ecosystem development work with Emprende UP.