WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Global Entrepreneurship Network is excited to announce the opening of Startup Huddle in Quito, Ecuador. The program will support local entrepreneurs in honing their pitch skills and discovering solutions to challenges they face. On October 16 at 6:00 pm, local founders, innovators, and business leaders will come together to help an entrepreneur work through their challenges and crowdsource solutions.
An experiential learning opportunity, Startup Huddle offers a unique program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs on a regular basis. The Startup Huddle format is consistent in each location: on a given morning, one or two early-stage startup founders give a six-minute presentation of their companies to a diverse audience of peers, mentors, educators and advisers. Each presentation is followed by a 20-minute question and answer session.
The culture surrounding Startup Huddle is that of a supportive, neutral space, welcoming entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face. Each event is organized by local entrepreneurs and community builders who volunteer their time to secure a venue, vet and select presenters and publicize the event.
As opposed to a traditional “pitch” environment, Startup Huddle was not created to be critical of entrepreneurs, but rather for the presenters to learn from shared experiences and find ways to support one another as a community. Startup Huddle is an educational experience for both the audience and the presenters. Presenters are given resources and support to prepare for their presentation and surveyed after their presentation to see what they’ve learned. Alianza para el Emprendimiento e Innovación (AEI), an organization that seeks to promote entrepreneurship for productive development in Ecuador, and WorkingUp, a coworking space and community, have partnered with the Global Entrepreneurship Network to carry out the country's first huddle in Quito.
The launch of this program is timely, as Quito´s entrepreneurship ecosystem is growing fast. Every year, more startups emerge and existing ones are scaling at a rapid pace. More institutions are also supporting entrepreneurship through with seed capital and business services.
Although Quito’s startup ecosystem is rich with resources, some startups have complained that there aren’t enough places for founders and collaborators to talk with one another. Startup Huddle will act as a safe place and community where advice can be exchanged to support entrepreneurs, adding substantial value to an ecosystem already with a lot of potential.
“We are excited encourage engagement between startups in Quito and generate interest in entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the rest of our country,” said the organizers from AEI. “We are confident that Startup Huddle will inspire more network to advocate for more entrepreneurial activities within their cities. Fostering a collaborative environment where experiences can be openly shared between startups and collaborators will help strengthen communities and create opportunities across Ecuador.”
For the first Huddle, the organizers have selected Juan Camilo Sepúlveda, founder of YANA, a sharing-economy platform for cleaning services.
“We are sure that this first Startup Huddle, will motivate more Ecuadorian startups to participate and share their experiences, successes, and challenges with the greater community,” the organizers from AEI expressed.