About a month ago, from 15 to 19 October, the SABF was honored to be invited by the company Younoodle  to participate in a program of six days in Silicon Valley called YN1K. They invited us to be one of the 50 founding members of the program that aims to influence the first thousand (1K) people over the next two years to encourage the entrepreneurial culture in their countries and try to recreate the ecosystem of Silicon Valley in different parts of the world.

During the 6-day event, we get to know the culture of entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley and try to understand why the biggest success story of these times are happening there and not elsewhere.

During the event there were 17 countries represented. Through the week they presented 16 incubators and accelerators, give us information of 7 training programs and workshops and 6 Startup Nations programs. We had the opportunity to visit two universities and to attend a TEDx event. This experience gave us the ability to do a lot of networking, not only with various entrepreneurs and investors but also with companies like NASA, Facebook, Microsoft or Intel.

Some of the conclusions we reached during the week are:

  • There are great benefits in being in the same place with the people who are doing similar stuff. Networking is an asset that we do not value enough. It is likely that this is the main difference between Silicon Valley and elsewhere. You can find capable people or quality ideas everywhere but for some reason they are unable to successfully implement their ideas.
  • There are many innovative models of accelerators that we have not seen in our region with great potential such as: Startup Houses, Startup Bus, Softlayer, among others.
  • Challenge driven innovation is a highly valued tool for large technology companies. This, plus the crowdsourcing concept, can be redefining the innovation rules around the world.
    The historically open and free mind of San Francisco helps build relationships. Everyone is interested in what you’re doing and is able to talk about their projects without any problem. There is a strong culture based on trying to help the others without expecting anything in return. It is in their culture to understand that the fact that if other is doing well it does not affect your business. On the contrary, you will probably benefit from that. “Pay it forward” or “Giving before Receiving” are terms we’ve heard a lot these days.
  • There are many proposals and organizations willing to make alliances to grow this entrepreneurial movement in Latin America. You have to know to look for opportunities.

We want to thank each one of the participants that made YN1K an incredible experience and ITBA and YouNoodle as well because they are the ones that helped us to be able to attend this unique opportunity.