Entrepreneurs. They pervade our personal space with bold visions and supposedly life-changing solutions. They tell us that our current lives are mundane and monotonous, and that with their grand ideas our grounded realities will be positively turned upside down.
The curious creativity and perseverance of digital entrepreneurs has created a future none of us could have imagined more than a decade ago.
Colombia is no exception when it comes to dedicated go-getters. The recent ex-Minister of Technology, Information and Communications (TIC) Diego Molano has been an avid entrepreneur supporter ever since he was appointed to the post in 2010.
He implemented technological infrastructures to help promote Internet access in remote rural areas, connecting towns under the “vive digital” agenda.
But the Ministry didn’t stop with rural inter-connectivity. A long-term objective is to create equal players in the world of cyber business.
Apps.co focuses on the development of mobile application, software, digital content and web platforms, and has grown into the largest community of TIC entrepreneurship in Colombia. The goal is to convert smart ideas into sustainable businesses by offering technical and financial advice and support to a carefully selected group of passionate entrepreneurs.
Apps.co has one priority: open the doors to give ordinary Colombians the opportunity to change the world one download at a time.
Since the beginning of Apps.co in 2012, Colombians have confirmed that their digital diversity runs at least as deep as its natural diversity. Ideas emerged around a wide range of problems on a local and global scale.
Comebien for creative cooking
Comebien creator and food engineer Luz Helena Villamízar says, “Women are creative and can make applications to improve the quality of life of the people we love. We are constantly learning and exploring because we want our families to thrive in all aspects of health: economic, educational and social. We must choose to take our ideas forward and persevere.”
With these convictions, she designed an application that provides recommendations on how to prepare healthy meals. It offers original recipes, tips for eating appropriate portions and lists of health food stores throughout the country.
ComproAgro connects farm-to-store
Rosalba Vergara, an agricultural producer of onions from Guyatoca, Boyacá, “never thought about technologies.” But she had a dilemma.
Intermediaries kept her profit margins low as a farmer, so she created ComproAgro with the backing of Apps.co. ComproAgro’s web platform connects farmers directly with buyers, improving the farmer’s income by eliminating the middleman.
Vergara’s insightfulness created a digital business that solves a problem many farmers suffer from.
Seak looks at the underwater world
Flagfin blenny, Shy hamlet, Sergeant major. To the layman, these could be New Age band names. But to marine biologist and underwater photographer Diego Ávila, these and thousands of other sea creatures, make up his life’s passion.
Realizing that the general public is clueless to happenings underwater, and that researchers lack marine data, Ávila took his passion for the sea and for conservation and co-founded the mobile application Seak.
“How can we conserve what we don’t know exists?” asked Ávila.
Seak is a marine life data collector that helps marine research using visual data provided by divers worldwide. This powerful tool is inspiring divers around the world to be our eyes into the ocean. It “brings the sea to your pocket” by linking the vital relationship between education and conservation.
Seak was one of seven application start-ups to represent Colombia at the recent #4YFN (4 Years From Now) event in Barcelona organized by the Mobile World Congress.
Kindery builds creativity with comics
Another noteworthy educational application was voted the best mobile app of 2014. Kindery allows children to narrate the story of a comic without words, and parents can download the narration afterwards.
The app, targeted at 3-6 year-olds, develops social and cognitive skills, and enhances language skills before children recognize words and letters.
Six-year-old Tomás Castellanos oversees the illustrations and ensures they are understandable for children. Tomás’ involvement shows that it is never too early to include children in the creation process.
Deciding to be your own boss is an act of courage. But because of support from the government, bold entrepreneurs who observe a need can design a solution that will impact our realities and inspire us to turn curiosity into something incredible.
The opportunities for Colombia’s digital entrepreneurs seem limitless, especially when competing for a global audience. While we wait to “swipe” the next app to emerge, connected Colombians understand the power of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.