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Swiss EP

Helping Bridge Ecosystem Gaps in Peru

When talking about the actors involved in the innovation & entrepreneurship ecosystem of the country that you live in, how complete is the picture that comes up in your head?

Helping Bridge Ecosystem Gaps in Peru

When talking about the actors involved in the innovation & entrepreneurship ecosystem of the country that you live in, how complete is the picture that comes up in your head?

Innovation & entrepreneurship ecosystems thrive because of the integration and collaboration of all related stakeholders. The spectrum of stakeholders can include universities investigating new technologies, entrepreneurs solving an overlooked problem with technology, or venture capital firms investing in a startup they saw at an accelerator’s Demo Day. Inclusivity will impel us forward while exclusivity will lead to siloed initiatives that delay the growth of the ecosystem.

Keeping in mind this summation: Education + R&D + Innovation + Entrepreneurship; think of the actors that tackle those concepts specifically and those who act as the pluses, linking one part to the next.

In the case of Peru, many agencies and programs exist that focus on parts of the innovation summation, however the gaps that remain are the spaces between the variables - the pluses.

These spaces can be filled by existing agencies communicating more constructively so that they can leverage each other’s strengths and unite stakeholders that do not frequently converse. With health and economic hardship at our doorstep, it is imperative that organizations and institutions stretch themselves to collaborate to streamline innovative solutions that effectively tackle today’s problems.

As a program that seeks to strengthen the ecosystem by bringing together different organizations, Swiss EP decided to use our platform to demonstrate the value of engaging with other parts of the ecosystem by doing something – a little uncommon. We designed an event centered around 2 main actors: 1.)- Diaspora, understood by our program as Peruvians living abroad with expertise in advanced innovation ecosystems and 2.)- Local researcher-led innovation projects.

On May 2020, Swiss EP held its 3rd Diaspora Meetup. The virtual meetup showcased innovative responses to COVID-19 from Peruvian researchers.

Two grant-winning projects from the government R&D agency, CONCYTEC, were chosen to share their projects to a panel of diaspora members and the general audience. Ms. Eveling Castro, Researcher from UNSA presented her prototype for an encapsulated video laryngoscope to create distance and protect doctors treating ICU patients from getting infected with COVID-19. Ms. Alicia Alva from UCH presented SAMAYCOV, a low-cost portable electronic device to assess the risk of pneumonia based on abnormal lung sound in patients suspected of having COVID-19.

The results were inspiring:
In this first-time mixing of diaspora, researchers, and ecosystem actors, there was an interesting exchange of perspectives. This was because the diaspora and ecosystem actors in the audience had low exposure to the research-based projects being developed in Peru while the researchers had given little thought to commercializing their product. The constructive feedback, new perspectives, and connections researchers got will assist them in developing a project with a longer-term consideration of facilitating the transfer of technology from research to commercialization. Thus, the event illustrated the exciting potential of integrating the R&D world with the entrepreneurship world.

Of the 48 attendees, 16 were Peruvians living in USA, Canada, Switzerland, and England.

The possibility for stakeholders to become pluses is evident. All it takes is for ecosystem actors to be conscious of the spaces between the variables and align their activities and communication with the goal of bridging the gaps in the Peruvian innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

During tough times, it is helpful to look at things with an opportunity lens on. If you would like to be inspired by the opportunities brewing in Peru, you can watch the meetup here: youtu.be/QXZPEUmKBkQ

For more information about Swiss EP and how to get involved with the Peruvian entrepreneurship community, please contact us at camila.cordero@swisscontact.org.