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From Vision to Victory - Startups’ Journey in the Greatest Peruvian Governmental Grant Contest

In March, over 80 startups from 7 organizations embarked on a pitch program with 5 Swiss EIRs to become one of the beneficiaries from one of the main equity-free grant contests from Peru.

In March, over 80 startups from 7 organizations embarked on a pitch program with 5 Swiss EIRs to become one of the beneficiaries from one of the main equity-free grant contests from Peru.

In the competitive world of startups, securing funding often hinges on the perfect pitch, and seed capital can be a big game-changer for propelling startups to new heights, even more if it is equity-free.

In Peru, since 2014, ProInnovate – a government agency under the Ministry of Production - has become one of the main sources of funding for startups, offering equity-free grants starting from 18k to 40k for ventures in MVP and growth stages (Annual sales of at least US$32k) through a national call that finishes with a pitch assessment.

In March, over 80 startups from UTEC Ventures, Liquid Venture Studio, Incubagraria, Kaman, JAKU, USIL Ventures, and the women community “Women Makers” embarked on a 4-week pitching program supported by Swiss EP. The Entrepreneurs-In-Residence (EIR) Yessenia Carvajal, Pia Cardenas, Diego Varela, Martina Guzman and Mat Gantar were in charge of training them on designing, structuring and delivering an effective presentation.

The program structure included 1 workshop, 2 rounds of mentoring sessions and 1 simulation interview. Furthermore, it was customized according to the startup stages and the contest criteria, so we could meet the participants' needs.

“I found the structure of the mission to be very well organized and suitable for the teams, and this was reflected in the results”, states Gladys Cavero, Analyst at UTEC Ventures.

and a startup participant mentions:

“In three sections Pia led us to create a PITCH that we had not been able to achieve in months! Thank you”

On the other hand, right from the beginning, the experts noticed the commitment of the participants, and when the program finished, they were pleased by the progress shown at the interviews.

“I saw that the founders took action on my advice and suggestions, making them better prepared for the final interview” highlights EIR Mat Gantar.

To our delight we had impressive results. After we had witnessed the hard work of the EIRs, startups and organizations, out of 80 startups, 56% were approved by the jury to be entitled to receive funds. However, due to the methodology used to allocate the funds, only 31% managed to receive equity-free funding.
It is worth mentioning that having a landscape where women in leadership often face barriers, 41% of the startup’s participants had at least one woman in the core leadership team, and out of them, 52% received the fund.

“Yessenia was very inspiring. Knowing that my venture is on the right track, encourages me to keep learning and improving” mentions a female-led startup.

And EIR Diego Varela explains that:

“Support for startups comes in various forms, including initial funding from the government, university-affiliated incubators, and accelerators. Additionally, entrepreneurial groups play a vital role in fostering communication and collaboration within the startup community”

Thanks to the valuable support given by our experts and partner organizations, the above-mentioned figures reveal that the participants acquired better pitching skills, gained resilience, developed adaptability, and most importantly, got a deeper understanding of their own ventures.

We are pleased and feel proud of the impact our work has had on startups throughout the years and we are ready to continue encouraging their creativity and innovative spirit towards success.