“MIT REAP Touchdown in Peru”

March 5, 2018

As a global initiative (40+ regions to-date), it makes perfect sense that the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP) touches down to work on-the-ground with the regional MIT REAP Teams. Select prestigious teams have the opportunity to host a MIT REAP workshop which includes running multiple engagement events as well as a week-long set of activities including an ecosystem tour for up to 7 other peer regions from their Cohort. Hosting a workshop is both a huge opportunity and a huge responsibility for the REAP Team.


On January 23-26, 2018, MIT REAP Team Lima, Peru had the privilege to host MIT REAP’s 3rd Workshop for Cohort 4 (Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Lagos, Nigeria; Nova Scotia; Iceland; Lima, Peru; Madrid, Spain: https://reap.mit.edu/community/cohort-4/). MIT REAP Team Lima’s application to host the workshop stood apart for many reasons including the desire to use the opportunity to bring many innovation ecosystem stakeholders together and to highlight an emerging ecosystem vibrant not only in the food and arts (the gastronomic expertise we all know), but an ability to grow and scale successful start-ups in sectors such as biodiversity.


Part of what makes hosting an opportunity for MIT REAP Teams is the ability to convene stakeholders outside of the immediate team to gain support and to build momentum for the innovation ecosystem. Most notably, the MIT REAP Global Innovation Gala was hosted by the President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski at his Presidential Palace, with key Peruvian innovation ecosystem stakeholders and the entirety of Cohort 4.


While not all change happens top-down and much of the entrepreneurial ecosystem is truly driven by those on-the-ground, it was a huge success for REAP Team Lima to have the President acknowledge the importance of their work and to support the concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship for all of Peru.


The commitment to innovation is further amplified by MIT REAP Team Lima through the Peruvian government launch of Regional Innovation Ecosystem Grants (“Dinamization of Regional Innovation Ecosystems” https://innovateperu.gob.pe/convocatorias/por-categorias/concursos-para-instituciones-del-ecosistema/208-concurso-dinamizacion-de-ecosistemas-regionales-de-innovacion-y-emprendimiento). Team Lima’s idea is to use the model created by MIT REAP to help other regions of Peru, in addition to their capital city—Lima. Team Lima facilitated a workshop in January with MIT Director, Sarah Jane Maxted to engage the applicants.


“It is so important to not only focus on the capital, Lima and to be inclusive across Peru. Every region has something unique about it and can use that to help them build up their own innovation ecosystem at a local level. Peru will only be a successful innovation ecosystem if all of Peru is moving forward,” said Maxted.


The team expects to receive at least 5 full applications from regions across Peru. There will then be a 2-month evaluation process with the winners being announced in May 2018. Part of the award will include MIT REAP Team Lima facilitating workshops with selected regions in order to assist in the creation of strategies and interventions, which will then be financed by the grant from Innovate Peru: https://innovateperu.gob.pe.


Overall, Cohort 4’s 3rd Workshop was a huge success for all of the MIT REAP teams as they start to implement their strategic interventions in line with their overall strategy. For the entire delegation including the MIT faculty, it was also a delight to be exposed to a unique innovation ecosystem. Perhaps most exciting is the impact it had to REAP Team Lima as noted by their Team Champion Gonzalo Villaran,


“Team Lima was very happy to host all teams and MIT faculty during Workshop 3 – the first REAP workshop to be held Latin America! Since then, the exposure of our work has increased dramatically, creating an avalanche of offers from different stakeholders to support the team and its objectives. We are definitely taking advantage of this momentum and as a team are looking to take advantage of this support, coming specially from government agencies, corporations and entrepreneurs.”


Authors: Sarah Jane Maxted, Director of MIT REAP and Travis Hunter, Program Manager at MIT REAP