In Costa Rica, the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), indicates that small and medium-sized companies generate 34.5% of formal jobs nationwide, representing 97.5% of the total number of companies in the country and the 35.7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, a high number of these fail in their first year of operation, and much of this is due to a lack of information, support and access to the current entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Bridge for Billions”, a social startup founded in 2015, that has benefited more than 1,700 entrepreneurs in more than 70 countries, reaches Costa Rica through its network of entrepreneurship programs that connects seed-stage entrepreneurs with growth opportunities throughout the world.
With an innovation-based entrepreneurship methodology, hands-on learning, individualized mentoring and lifetime access to an online community of entrepreneurs and mentors, these digital programs reproduce the traditional incubation journey, but are 25 times more profitable than other programs.
“There is a great problem with lack of diversity and inclusion within entrepreneurship ecosystems. Today, we are facing a Pandemic that has affected not only Latin America, but the rest of the world. Most entrepreneurs do not have access to the resources that we can find in prestigious and foreign universities, where hundreds of emerging companies are “manufactured” every year,” said Pablo Santaeufemia, CEO of Bridge for Billions.
“Being able to innovate and start a business that solves a certain problem should not be a luxury. For this reason, we work to open new opportunities to anyone who has an innovative and effective solution and thus, bring it to the market through a truly meritocratic and inclusive process”, concluded Santaeufemia.
Weaknesses of the entrepreneurial system
The current model of the entrepreneurial ecosystem faces three weaknesses: limited opportunities, lack of diversity and little efficiency. For this reason, Pablo Santaeufemia, CEO and Jessica Kou, CPO, have achieved great results by identifying and attacking these weaknesses by bringing the necessary tools and opportunities to entrepreneurs from any corner of the world, since 70% of their entrepreneurs do not have had access to other programs.
“Entrepreneurs are experts in specific topics, we have a vocation to learn and a huge enthusiasm, but many times we are weak in planning skills, market research, or others. Bridge for Billions has a set of technological tools and a network of mentors who capitalize on knowledge and experience, making it available to more people, in a way that multiplies and scales the impact. Bridge’s support helps advance in the process of realizing our idea”, mentions Fabio Víquez, founder of Randi Randi in Costa Rica.
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The network has its own step-by-step incubation program called The Leap. In order to support a greater number of SMEs, Bridge for Billions creates, designs and manages entrepreneurship programs with companies, organizations, foundations and universities, which help to fulfill its mission of strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem and, therefore, the economy and the social development of Latin America and the world, through innovation.