November 2, 2016

INNOVANDO PARAGUAY

Country
Americas
Policy/Program
Lifecycle of target firms for this policy instrument
Start-up firms
Support offered
Direct Financial Support
Level of intervention
Entrepreneur-level
Barrier(s) addressed with this policy tool
Access to Capital
Skills/Talent
Policy timeline

The Project INNOVANDO PY, developed by SENATICs, has as main goal to promote the growth and development of human capital with a local initiative and an international vision, on projects in a startup stage with high growth potential, strengthening the venture’s environment, supporting the innovation culture in Paraguay and creating local and international connections, through several actors, promoting the consolidation and strengthening of the ICTs in the country.

SENATICs is an institution within the government’s executive branch, created by Law 4989/13 on August 9th 2013, “Which creates the Framework for the Application of the Information and Communications Technologies within the Public Sector and creates the National Secretariat of Information and Communications Technologies (SENATICs)”, in charge of implementing the principles and ends of the ICTs in the public sector. With this purpose, attributions such as “to develop suitable human resources for the implementation of the programs and projects to incorporate technology use” and “to promote initiatives and develop activities leading to a better knowledge and application of the technology over the communities in the country” have been assigned to it. And also, functions such as “to promote innovation and development strategies in ICTs” and “to establish and promote strategies linked to the strengthening and promotion of the national industries related to ICTs” have been commissioned to it.

In compliance with these legal objectives, SENATICs has developed the “INNOVANDO PY Startups” program, aiming to reward with non-reimbursable seed capital those startups chosen after a selection process, equipping them with this base input for the development and validation of their business models with products, services or innovative marketing methods, showing high growth potential through the use of ICTs.

Before granting the seed capital of 50 million Paraguayan Guarani (~9K USD), SENATICs strengthens the participating startups with a pre-acceleration program used to identify and develop specialized capabilities for innovative business with growth potential. This pre-acceleration program seeks the definition and realization of the startup ventures, leaving them in a position to successfully invest the seed capital and obtain the desired results.

A. Pre-acceleration program. The following topics are covered:

  1. Introduction to Lean Canvas
  2. Client development, Segmentation, Problem definition
  3. Bootstrapping, Value promise, Competitive edge, Solution, Channels
  4. Finance analysis, Income flows, Cost structure
  5. Metrics, UX
  6. MVP, App flow, Prototyping
  7. Pitching

Work plan and Investment plan

Work plan and Investment plan are delivered as outcomes by the end of the pre-acceleration program. Then, the evaluation and process rating is carried out by mentors.

Demo Day. Selection and Awards to the winners

B. In parallel, specific events on the aforementioned topics are carried out, open to anyone interested, in seminar or workshop modality, as applicable.

C. Those ventures evaluated as “firm-level” are supported by providing them tech resources like cloud or hosting solutions, allowing them to strengthen their market presence and broaden their services, as well as mentoring them on software development and business plans, according to the identified needs.

Stated goal/metrics of the policy instrument

Provide training for up to 1000 aspiring youth entrepreneurs per year.

Evidence of results

Between 2014 and 2015.

  1. 30 Startups have participated of the INNOVANDO PY pre-acceleration program, with a total of 120 people.
  2. 1992 people have participated in summits, seminars and workshops.
  3. We have provided support to 9 “firm-level” Startups.
Challenges, criticisms and lessons

The following list details a series of weaknesses detected in some cases, along with the actions taken to reduce the risks involved.

1. Idea of a product too small or non-scalable: An evaluation matrix has been established to measure the product scalability before the admission to the program.

2. Lack of market research: Many times entrepreneurs launch business thinking they are excellent ideas, without taking the time to do some market research first. Special emphasis has been given to this point during the mentoring.

3. Lack of marketing strategy: Usually entrepreneurs are so focused on building their product that they forget to think about the marketing strategy and how this will help to achieve a proven concept appealing to investors. A mentor specialized in marketing strategies has been incorporated and the participants must invest part of their capital in a marketing plan.

4. Not to know when to pivot: Entrepreneurs need to be able to identify the need for a switch of direction, and this must be done while there is still money and time available to implement the changes.

5. Lack of passion or perseverance: Psychology of the entrepreneur (to be incorporated this year)

6. Incorrect or non-existing leadership: Investors don’t want to support just one person, but a team. Sometimes teams choose the member who initially contributed more money as their leader, while that doesn’t mean he or she is the right person to make the business grow.

7. To think that having a solid profit model is irrelevant: As an outcome of the pre-acceleration program the teams must deliver a finished lean canvas model.

8. To lack the needed capital: Opening equity is advised.

Notes and additional context

The Project INNOVANDO PY, developed by SENATICs, has as main goal to promote the growth and development of human capital with a local initiative and an international vision, on projects in a startup stage with high growth potential, strengthening the venture’s environment, supporting the innovation culture in Paraguay and creating local and international connections, through several actors, promoting the consolidation and strengthening of the ICTs in the country.

SENATICs is an institution within the government’s executive branch, created by Law 4989/13 on August 9th 2013, “Which creates the Framework for the Application of the Information and Communications Technologies within the Public Sector and creates the National Secretariat of Information and Communications Technologies (SENATICs)”, in charge of implementing the principles and ends of the ICTs in the public sector. With this purpose, attributions such as “to develop suitable human resources for the implementation of the programs and projects to incorporate technology use” and “to promote initiatives and develop activities leading to a better knowledge and application of the technology over the communities in the country” have been assigned to it. And also, functions such as “to promote innovation and development strategies in ICTs” and “to establish and promote strategies linked to the strengthening and promotion of the national industries related to ICTs” have been commissioned to it.

In compliance with these legal objectives, SENATICs has developed the “INNOVANDO PY Startups” program, aiming to reward with non-reimbursable seed capitals those startups chosen after a selection process, equipping them with this base input for the development and validation of their business models with products, services or innovative marketing methods, showing high growth potential through the use of ICTs.

Before granting the seed capital of 50 million Paraguayan Guarani (~9K USD), SENATICs strengthens the participating startups with a pre-acceleration program used to identify and develop specialized capabilities for innovative business with growth potential. This pre-acceleration program seeks the definition and realization of the startup ventures, leaving them in a position to successfully invest the seed capital and obtain the desired results.

A. Pre-acceleration program. The following topics are covered:

  1. Introduction to Lean Canvas
  2. Client development, Segmentation, Problem definition
  3. Bootstrapping, Value promise, Competitive edge, Solution, Channels
  4. Finance analysis, Income flows, Cost structure
  5. Metrics, UX
  6. MVP, App flow, Prototyping
  7. Pitching

Work plan and Investment plan

Work plan and Investment plan are delivered as outcomes by the end of the pre-acceleration program. Then, the evaluation and process rating is carried out by mentors.

Demo Day. Selection and Awards to the winners

B. In parallel, specific events on the aforementioned topics are carried out, open to anyone interested, in seminar or workshop modality, as applicable.

C. Those ventures evaluated as “firm-level” are supported by providing them tech resources like cloud or hosting solutions, allowing them to strengthen their market presence and broaden their services, as well as mentoring them on software development and business plans, according to the identified needs.

 

Before SENATICs was created, some “incubation” initiatives existed for ventures in general, such as:

http://www.incuna.una.py/

http://www.incubadoralansol.org/

http://www.itaipu.gov.py/es/tecnologia/incubadora-de-empresas-eugen

An association of incubators and technological parks was created, of which SENATICs is currently a member.

INNOVANDO PY, as a startup pre-acceleration model with base in technology -exclusively-, is the first governmental effort and the first initiative of its kind in the country.

 

http://www.innovando.gov.py/

 

 

Geographic scope
National-level