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Ecuadorian firm wins IDB start-up Pitch Competition at Demand Solutions Miami

An Ecuadorian start-up that created a platform for Latin American emerging writers was declared the winner of the Inter-American Development Bank’s fifth pitch competition, held as part of the Demand Solutions event in Miami last week.

The event, featuring 18 innovative startups from across Latin America and the Caribbean, was co-hosted by the IDB and Miami Dade College (MDC). Demand Solutions, the IDB’s flagship event on innovation and entrepreneurship, brings together creative minds from around the world to share solutions that improve lives.

The event closed with a pitch competition featuring 18 startups from Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Miami.

Galo Vargas, cofounder of the Ecuadorian startup Inkspired, won the top prize of $30,000 for being the Creative Entrepreneur with the Highest Potential for Global Impact. Inkspired is a platform that allows emerging fiction writers from Latin America and the world to publish their books and creative series, connecting them with interested readers and providing them with metrics to improve their work and make their stories more appealing.

Ariana Green, cofounder of Couple Six from Barbados won the Disruptive Creativity for Development Award, a $15,000 USD cash prize from the IDB. Couple Six is the first videogame development studio in Barbados; it features games based on narratives of the history and culture of the Caribbean. 

Ariana also won a special award by Creative Business Cup: an invitation to participate in the Global Finals competition in Copenhagen in November.

Barbara Arteaga, cofounder of Ecoplaso from Mexico, won the Creativity for Social Impact Award, a $7,000 USD award by the IDB. Ecoplaso is a Mexican startup run by 5 women who use their proprietary biotechnology to turn fruit waste into textile substitutes of leather and fast fashion fabrics.

Maxeme Tuchman, cofounder of the Miami-based startup Caribu, won the award for the Most Innovative Startup from South Florida, a $15,000 USD award by Miami Dade College. Caribu also won the Go Global Award, a 2-week ScaleUp Bootcamp by Latam Startups.

The entrepreneurs pitched their startups’ innovations to an audience of more than 300 people and a jury composed of leading specialists from Santander Universidades, the Innovation Lab of Miami Dade College, Creative Business Cup, the Cambridge Innovation Center in Miami (CIC Miami), Latam Startups, Endeavor Miami, Babel Ventures, 23 Design, Lobo Ecosystem Builders, Babel Ventures and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The startups were selected from over 300 candidates to showcase their innovative products and services at the one-day Demand Solutions event, designed to connect startups with investors, mentors and thought leaders.

One representative from each startup traveled to Demand Solutions Miami for the Pitch Competition and to take part in two days of activities with innovators, mentors, entrepreneurs and investors, organized by MentorDay.

Other awards include:

Linda Franco, cofounder of Machina, won the award for the High-Growth Woman Entrepreneur, an invitation to participate in WeXchange Annual Forum in Santiago, Chile, in December 2017.

Julio Oliveto, cofounder of Livre, won the Lean Case award: legal and accounting services directed to startups from the creative and cultural industries to expand their business to Colombia.

All 18 startups were awarded free co-working space and network connections for programmatic objectives at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Miami (CIC Miami).

The event was sponsored by Santander Universidades. Other partners included Endeavor Miami, Babson Win Lab and Americas Society/Council of the Americas.

The livestream of the startup pitches is available here.

This was the ninth edition of Demand Solutions. The next edition of Demand Solutions will take place on November 9th in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.

About Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College is the largest, campus-based institution of higher education in the United States, with an enrollment of more than 165,000 students. It is also the nation’s top producer of Associate in Arts and Science degrees and awards more degrees to minorities than any other college or university in the country. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways including several baccalaureate degrees in education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film, engineering, and others. Its academic and workforce training programs are national models of excellence. MDC is also renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is home of the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, the MDC Live! Performing Arts Series, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, a sculpture park and a large art gallery and theater system. MDC has admitted more than 2,000,000 students and counting, since it opened its doors in 1960.