This week the MIT AITI Colombia Entrepreneurs demonstrated their creativity and drive.
I started Monday with a visit to the local morning TV magazine show, Amaneciendo, to talk about the MIT AITI program and how we are focused on building sustainable mobile application businesses and strengthening the ecosystem for entrepreneurship in Cali and Colombia at large.
That afternoon what we thought would be an hour of finishing a few brainstorming topics turned into a full session. By Monday afternoon, we had 7 pages (we filled our 3 whiteboards 3 times) of ideas for mobile applications to solve problems in transportation, finance, healthcare, retail, education, home automation, among other areas.
On Tuesday, groups of student entrepreneurs reported back on homework they had done on determining the number of mobile phones with Internet access within Universidad ICESI. One student from Universidad Libre took the work a step further, looking at Universidad Libre and determining not only the number of phones but the amount of revenue the Libre mobile Internet access market represented for mobile carriers. The work was encouraging because it validated the rapid growth of mobile Internet access within the University community and the trend for Colombia at large.
By Wednesday, nerves abounded as the individual idea pitches began. The entrepreneurs were well armed due to the extensive brainstorming and preparation done earlier in the week, although we still need to express the business models for some of the ideas more clearly--I am sure this will happen in the weeks to come as we have not yet covered business models in detail (it's on this week's agenda). By Thursday, the pitches were getting stronger, and momentum was building for the final vote. We covered Peter Levine's terrific mini-case on Forming Extraordinary Teams, and then held the vote. On Friday, we settled the teams and the entrepreneurs left for the holiday weekend with an assignment that each team talk with 100 people/potential customers about their idea.
Next week we will post the teams along with a brief description of the businesses-I'll keep you in suspense until then! And, I'll leave it to Miguel to tell you about our great time over the weekend salsa dancing in the street.
Until next week,