Medellín, our ecosystem

Parque de las luces

Startups are trendy, Innovation in this city is trendy. We increased our focus in the city with a lot of awards as the most innovative city of the world (Innovative City of the Year by the Wall Street Journal in 2013), even we became the host of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2016, but that’s far from the reality, even with the work of RutaN and their programs focused on improving the ecosystem, we are not there yet.

Our new entrepreneurs are not the modern businessmen and women at the vanguard of their fields, are just students trying to create their own companies before to actually get experience, is a phenomenon, where we push the best students to their own adventures and we forget about the great companies that became central part of the creation of this valley. And all our educational institutions encourage the entrepreneurial mindset.

To have a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, Medellín need to support partnerships between new and old players. Medellín has recognized innovative pioneers who have built on the creativity and foresight of the generation before to recognize market opportunities and launch businesses that “disrupt” the local establishment and change the status quo through innovation.

We need to move away from the perspective that innovation is synonymous with technology, because this is not necessarily always the case: innovation can come from any idea that solves a problem better than it has been solved before.

Many actors in the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Medellín have been focused on technology, and for good reason. Since the technology boom of the 1990s, worldwide demand for software services and talented engineers has spurred the growth of the software development and services sector. Capitalizing on this demand, a cadre of Medellín technology companies such as Intergrupo, Cadena, Choucair Testing, Pragma, PSL, and other ClusterTIC members have grown into successful businesses with continued employment growth.

One of the best things of this pioneers are that this founders reinvest their success into others, and this helps to create a successful entrepreneurship hub. As Endeavor in his ecosystem insight of 2015 points out:

“Surprising as it may sound, successful entrepreneurs don’t make a successful tech hub. Successful entrepreneurs who reinvest their success do. Nearly 200 tech entrepreneurs in Medellin have relationships with other tech founders and companies via mentorship, angel investment, employee spinouts or serial entrepreneurship. These connections have created a cycle of growth in Medellin, and will ensured the sustained growth of the ecosystem if carried forward into the future.”

The technology sector has evolved to include a fascinating set of entrepreneurs focused on digital entrepreneurship. Furthermore, barriers to entry for entrepreneurs who seek to start a Web-based business are low: with a Wi-Fi connection and an idea, anyone can set up a website and provide services or products to anyone, anywhere.

A growing ecosystem. The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Medellín in 2016 is far from what it was even just five years ago. Local and international players have come together across the full value chain of new business investment, from university training programs incubating start-ups and matching recent graduates to the private sector, to advanced stages of investment in companies to launch them to the next stage of their expansion. A recent map by Endeavour ( captures most of the players, from nonprofits running incubators that grow an idea into a full-fledged business proposal, to accelerators maturing and validating business ideas, and finally local and international funders who provide everything from business plans and marketing support to seed and venture capital.

The Medellín entrepreneurship ecosystem is growing and resilient. Medellín stands out as a city with an entrepreneurial mindset. Let’s continue to work together to take it to the next level and show the world what we can do.