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Mexico 2013 Blog: Panel - Innovating with Science, Technology, and Entrepreneurship

(L-R) Pilar Aguilar, Marcus Dantus, Pablo Slough, Blanca Treviño. (Photo: Keith Dannemiller)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In a panel moderated by Endeavor Mexico's Pilar Aguilar, Softtek's Blanca Treviño, Wayra Mexico's Marcus Dantus, and Google Mexico's Pablo Slough discussed and debated the panorama for innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship in Mexico. Panelists explored topics ranging from challenges for innovation in Latin America to questions on how to foment talent in Mexico.

Speakers identified a number of hurdles to innovation in Mexico and Latin America as a whole. Treviño noted that, as opposed to disruptive technologies, Latin American innovation tended to focus on business and operations. Moreover, Slough said that there should be many entrepreneurs like Treviño in Mexico, adding that angel investors and private equity exist, but there is a gap in terms of venture capital. Aguilar reminded the panelists that the issue of innovation has much to do with human resources and asked if talent exists in Mexico. Slough said it does, but incentives are needed to keep talent from leaving for the United States. Treviño agreed and said that the Mexican government needs to help grow knowledge industries and not just traditional industries. Dantus noted that Mexican talent lacks specialization as in other parts of the world:

On a positive note, speakers spoke of the opportunity presented through access; Treviño pointed out that for many Mexicans, internet access occurs for the first time through smartphones. This has a democratizing effect.

Responding to a question over twitter from @MujeresContruyendo, panelists also talked about bringing women into the field of innovation, and Dantus noted that five out of 10 initiatives supported by Wayra are started by women. Slough said many microcredits go to women due to a sense of confidence.

Panelists addressed education as well, urging a creative approach:

Watch a video of this panel: