Some of you may recall the 10x10kCuba program – a startup competition propelling entrepreneurship & innovation throughout Cuba. I partnered with this program last year when four of the winners were in Boulder working with Techstars and Boomtown, nationally recognized accelerators. I was teaching our Global Perspectives course for our MBAs and our student teams consulted with the entrepreneurs to help further their ventures. Our course culminated in a 10-day trip to Cuba to work with our entrepreneurs.
The Executive Director of the sponsoring organization, Jorge Mandilego, was in Boulder last week to further this program. It was great to connect with him! He shared how the climate for Cuban entrepreneurs has become more challenging due to the recent political changes, and that many of the deliverables our students helped with have either been put on pause or adapted greatly. But here's the coolest thing that I learned when chatting with Jorge: these entrepreneurs aren't discouraged and they continue to work even harder to develop creative solutions to their problems. For example, one of the companies, Ke Hay Pa' Hoy, had to completely shift their target market to tourists from the UK. Their venture, an app promoting Cuban culture, lost 50%+ of their revenue this past year but now they are looking to have their best year ever in 2018.
"these entrepreneurs aren't discouraged and they continue to work even harder to develop creative solutions to their problems."
- Jorge Mandilego
The entrepreneurial spirit is so powerful and resilient! Whether in Cuba or anywhere in the world, these amazing people drive innovation in the world no matter the conditions. Very, very cool …