Written by: Jennifer Jordan
June 25, 2012
Welcome to Universidad ICESI in Cali, Colombia for the first MIT AITI program in Latin America. The program has brought together thirty outstanding entrepreneurs and technologists from Universidad ICESI, Universidad del Valle, and Universidad Libre.
From the first moment, we've begun preparing the entrepreneurs to launch real businesses and to present to potential customers and investors. Icebreakers required everyone to stand up in front of the class and introduce a colleague. While case studies on ideation, including a lively discussion of how we would have brought electricity to market, helped us work through what is necessary to include in a business plan and investor pitch.
On the tech side with Miguel and Ivan, the students have kept pace through the java lectures and labs, and once they began to work in teams interesting things started to happen. The entrepreneurs began sharing more efficient and elegant solutions with their peers--and they didn't want to leave the lab. They kept on going until we had to lock the doors at night.
By Friday, the students were fully engaged in a lengthy "lluvia de ideas", or brainstorm, on needs they see in the market that could be met with a mobile app. The ideas ranged across multiple sectors including consumer, enterprise, social, transportation, heath, education, sports, entertainment, government and even religion. We are fortunate that some of the entrepreneurs already have experience as founders and will be able to share their experience with their peers.
This coming week we will be pitching those ideas, forming teams and starting work on customer validation. On Thursday afternoon, Carlos Sierra, an MIT Sloan Fellow and Colombian mobile entrepreneur will talk to us via Skype or WebEx on his experience in the mobile market, securing his first customers, working with mobile carriers and the trends he sees in the market. In the tech lab, Android development begins.
Check back soon and we'll keep you posted on the progress.