Panama hopes to become an undertaking global hub that helps startups and undertakers to develop their projects. Several initiatives like the ones that are being developed within Pacific Panama, one of the biggest public-private developments in the world, near Panama Canal are heading to create an undertaking culture in the country and to consolidate necessary legal and economic structures.
By the end of the last year the Panamanian government launched its national policy “Panama undertakes and grows”, that is the basis to encourage undertaking as an important part in the agenda for the national development. The increase of governmental initiatives through Autoridad de la Micro, Pequeña y Mediana Empresa (Ampyme) (Authority of Micro, Middle and Small Enterprises) and Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (Senacyt)(National Office of Science, Technology and Innovation) is good news to young Panamanian undertakers. Academic centers like the Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá (Technological University of Panama) offer strong teaching programs and private organizations like Centro de Innovación de la Ciudad del Saber (Innovation Center in Ciudad del Saber) have specialized themselves in undertaking.
Panamanian startups have a fundamental approach to innovation and, most important, have a global mentality which allows them to go into other markets and to access more important investment rounds. This growing and expansive mentality is a key aspect, according to startups specialists, to obtain bigger growing guaranties and viability in a world marked by a high percent of failures. .
Top 10 Most Innovative Startups in Panama
Panama Hopes to be the Great “Global Hub” in Latin America
But the country still has a lot of challenges ahead. In comparison with other countries in the region like Mexico, Chile, Colombia or Brazil, Panama owns a very modest position within the most important countries dealing with technologies, like fintech.
But talent opens its own way. In PanamericanWorld, we have chosen the story of a few Panamanian young undertakers, who have found a brilliant idea and developed it successfully. Many of them studied in The United States and returned to contribute to the development of our country. Some others have known how to identify and have given solution to a certain situation, which caused a revolution within the sector they belong to. These are inspirational stories from Panamanian young undertakers looking for a position within the new business world.
Tomás Koltán, Guy Ourfali y Daniel Ourfali
Papaupa is a Panamanian undertaking devoted to the fashion world experimenting with new ways of expression in how young Panamanian dress up more urban. Headed by Tomas Koltan, GuyOurfali and Daniel OurfailPapaupa encourage collaboration with different visual artists, musician and independent designers in order to make fashion a global manifestation representing the way in which younger generations are and live. This is why they also encourage the organization of events where street wear is the link that generates synergies among people who share that same lifestyle.
There is more and more presence of young people within the cultural world in Panama, who have decided to show their particular expression language, by using artistic manifestations like painting, photograph or illustration as the way to go. At the same time this is happening, there is a net, which is used to house these expositive events and to generate a community that works, in many cases, with the same aesthetic codes. Pushed by this reality, or as part of it, independent brands, like Papaupa, are acquiring a best position among new generations of young Panamanian people. .
Min y Ricardo Chen.
Min Chen is a young Panamanian girl who has become herself in a referent for young Panamanian undertakers. Together with her brother Ricardo, they created Redoxigen in 2016, a startup founded from Alcenit Corporation, in Ciudad del Saber. They created Interfase, the first digital innovation designed by Panamanian undertakers. This is the first augmented reality game in Panama using markets from all over the country as nodes in a science fiction virtual world.
The app works as a digital positional channel, it is good for corporations, micro and middle enterprises (MIPYMEs) because it encourage physical visits to different markets through mobile technology and makes them more visibility when placing them as nodes in the virtual world. It also contributes to the creation of a big data base in which you can see where, what and how the enterprises work. Interfase won the US Market Entry prize in Viaglobal at the 2017 Seed Start Summit competition, performed in Lausana, Switzerland. The prize, which recognizes the most potential startups in the American market, will allow the Panamanian enterprise to be legally placed in the United States.
Juan Carlos y Andrés Quezada
The founders of the Panamanian startup Hauf, which name comes after the English phrase: “how are you feeling?” decided to go on and create their own company after experimenting by themselves the difficulties of finding an adequate medical service when living in a foreign country “We are that friend who knows a doctor” reads the slogan in the platform, facilitating the interaction between the user and the health professional.
Both brothers, Juan Carlos and Andres Quesada were clear since the very first moment that improving the medical assistance was an interesting field in which some good ideas could be oriented to improve the life quality of the citizens. Hauf was founded in 2016, it is a smart platform designed to medical tourism, looking for the connection of local patients with doctors, but hoping to connect patients and doctors all over the world not in a very long time, guaranteeing good medical assistance, competitive prices, trips and well-being.
The doctors assigned to the platform are familiarized with the technology or have an assistant or secretary confirming appointments, making the patients feel comfortable and sure that everything is going to happen as planned. Another objective Hauf has is bringing back to Panama many doctors graduated from prestigious universities in the United States and Mexico..
Susana Lau y Maria Luisa Carrión
Etyalab is the startup that Susana Lau and Maria Luisa Carrion founded in 2015. They created “Mercadito”, an app for mobiles and tablets (Android) that works as a virtual market allowing food trading. After graduating from UTP, they both earn a Full bright scholarship and they attended a course for a master´s degree in Technologies of Information at Carnegie Mellon University. They studied a year in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) and the next one in Silicon Valley (California), United States. Once they were back, they founded the software-development company, EtyaLab, which means “to develop, to transform and to progress”. The intention is to work with other companies if they want to create or improve an app or web page using the SCRUM system, which consists of working in short periods of time so that the clients may measure their results in real time, and modify while the development of the project..
Ronny Jessiery, Edgar Btesh, Carlos Linares y María Virginia Cegarra
Mesabierta is a Panamanian technological undertaking which has acquired a great success in the capital of the country and it hopes to go on and grow in new markets. It is headed to the sector of restaurants and it was made to cause a revolution the traditional system of reservations and to improve the service. It is a reservation system mainly à la carte, on line, making the operations easier in these places in order to provide a better service and even give a compensation to the regular clients.
Ronny Jessiery, Edgar Btesh, Carlos Linares and María Virginia Cegarra support this digital startup based on a system of big data reception and analysis designed for restaurants in Panama, which is able to work in other markets, as well. The system allows the reservation and gives access to the restaurants profiles, map, location, social nets, mail, and way of payment, facilities and dishes.
“It is a platform to improve and maximize the service in restaurants, get to know the clients and even measure times of service and distribution to tables” the promoters add. It also gives an interface for the restaurants to administer reservations and the amount of available tables every service day, at noon, in the afternoon, or at nights, depending on the establishment.