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Startups flock to attractive ecosystem of Argentina with alluring government initiatives

Countries in Latin America are fast becoming nations which attract startups.

And Argentina in particular is hugely attractive to businesses with its government initiatives, free cash and ability to receive mentoring.

The country, which has made a huge turnaround in the past few years, now has the majority of the region’s tech unicorns based there.

Things don’t appear to be stopping there. The country – especially its capital – is on the up and its government is doing everything it can to bring people here.

“We want to turn the City into a true entrepreneurial powerhouse, a great entrepreneurial hub that guides us along the development path,” said Santiago Sena, Director General of Entrepreneurship for the City of Buenos Aires.

Mr Sena announced this week that the country’s accelerator program, IncuBate, is calling on startups around the world to come and set-up shop in the capital.

Launched by the city’s government, IncuBate gives mentors and advisors, financial assistance of up to $30,000, and shared workspace access for a year to startups who come to the capital.

Thanks to a new law this year, startups can come to the city and swiftly jump into action.  

At a press conference this week, Mr Sena explained: “The city government and national government are very aligned in the promotion of new business things have been changing a lot in Argentina in the past three years.

“Actually this year, the Entrepreneurs’ Act was passed in the national legislative power and, according to that law, we are now able to create a business using just internet in just 24 hours and this is was not a vehicle that was present before. And besides that it is reducing all the administrative and bureaucratic things that an entrepreneur has to do for a new firm or business.”

Argentina has battled with economic woes for decades but always remained a global gameplayer – being a strong economic and political power.

But still, big players never would have invested here just a few years ago.

This has all changed, however, and investors are quickly realising the country is a hot spot.

One success story is that of Pierpaolo Barbieri, the founder of mobile banking startup Uala, who recently got backing of billionaire George Soros – proof that Argentina now firmly stands as a good choice for venture capitalists.

Another one of Buenos Aires’s success stories is that of FDV – a software company which was recently bought by global company, intive.

This acquisition proves that companies outside of Latin America now have their eyes on Argentina.

Mariano Stampella, who is responsible for US business development at intive, said: “When conversations come up abroad about tech in Latin America, countries like Brazil and Mexico tend to dominate, however, many people aren’t aware of the strengths of Argentina. For example, Argentina is home to the highest number of tech unicorns within Latin America, including MercadoLibre, valued at $9 billion and companies like Globant provide a huge amount of code to Silicon Valley companies.

“Additionally, improving STEM education is a goal of the national government and Argentina has the biggest one laptop per child program in the world.”

The first in english proficiency in the region and with the highest amount of universities per person in South America, according to Mr Sena, Argentina is definitely has potential to draw in foreigners.

“Argentina wants to be a global player – we want to be connected to the rest of the world,” he said.

“We are thinking globally.”

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