About our initiative
IDEA Network UQ started as a gathering of entrepreneurs within different disciplines at the University of Queensland, Australia. The main initiative gathered students from Austria, Australia, China, Ecuador and more who went on to bring IDEA Network back to their local ecosystems.
After returning home in 2010, I wanted to build a strong startup community in Ecuador so I founded IDEA Network Ecuador with six other tech entrepreneurs. IDEA Network activities started as meetups and aggregated discussions within a simple Facebook group. The movement began to grow when other IT professionals with the desire to start new companies and entrepreneurship centers started joining the network.
I have presented these concepts at local TEDx events, GEW conferences, BarCamps, Campus Parties and PechaKucha events among others. I have also shared this knowledge at Chile’s Poplus civic hacking conference and Startup Weekend Santiago 2014.
As of today, the IDEA Network Ecuador Facebook Group has 450 members, and has connected local startup event organizers from TEDx events, BarCamps, Meetups, Global Entrepreneurship Forums, as well as the upcoming Lean Startup Machine and Startup Weekend events.
The Ecuadorian ecosystem
Unfortunately, the Ecuadorian startup ecosystem has been severely hindered by initiatives with hidden agendas. Groups started fostering motivational talks, business management seminars, trivial workshops, incubation programs and events that added little value to the entrepreneurs attending the event, but brought in a lot of money for the organizers.
This led to a need to limit posts within the group to only those value-adding articles, and the self-regulation of community members posting content of no value to the network.
Additionally, the lack of funds, trustworthy investors, local NGOs, companies with budgets dedicated entirely to fostering entrepreneurship, lack of trust from local banks, red tape from state operated seed capital, and the lack of online payment platforms still hinder the growth of ideas to ventures in Ecuador.
According to the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Ecuador has the highest entrepreneurial index in Latin America, but very few of those entrepreneurs are actually thinking of high-impact and rapid growth ventures. IDEA Network’s goal is to motivate entrepreneurs to have a global scope, and to connect them in their ventures, bypassing intermediaries.
The goal for IDEA Network is to gain more of a presence through an official site and events.
Together with Luis, our co-founder, we wish to build a social platform for projects and new initiatives where actors in the ecosystem can be aggregated and reviewed by new startups and external actors.
This will help IDEA Network Ecuador and others in the Ecuadorian startup ecosystem to shift from traditional social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AngeList and YouNoodle, towards a new platform where actors can easily connect and work together through trust-building reviews.
We want to build a go-to platform where participants are easily identified so they are forced to “blend in” shifting towards trustworthy behavior.
Additionally, we are building links to organize Startup Weekends, bring accelerators and MakerSpaces to the country, and linking with schools to seed the entrepreneurial mindset in young professionals and students. We aim to bring these initiatives to fruition by late 2014 and mid-2015.
As posted in Startup Nations.
Here's some posts I've written elsewhere in both English and Spanish.
You can find my musings on Startup Nations, Matador Network, Medium, and Cowbird.
Thanks for stopping by!