Ep 14 Sebastian Vidal, Building a Powerful Startup Accelerator in Puerto Rico

sebastian vidal - startup accelerator

It’s always exciting when I get to sit down with someone like Sebastian Vidal. In his experience working as part of the Startup Chile team and now as the leader of Parallel18, a startup accelerator based in Puerto Rico he’s been part of the launch of over 1000 startups. Can you imagine the insights, connections, and lessons-learned a guy like that has? That’s what I wanted to tap into in this conversation, so be sure you take the time to listen.

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What Entrepreneurs Should Expect While Doing Business in Paraguay

The landlocked country of Paraguay flies below the radar for many entrepreneurs and travelers alike. Home to 6.7 million people, Paraguay has a GDP of $27.44 billion as of 2016, representing 0.4% of the world economy. Minimum wage is 1,964,507 Guaranies per month, which comes out to roughly US$353. Paraguay is a major producer of hydroelectricity, and the Itaipú dam, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy, is on the Paraná river. Paraguay had the highest economic growth in South America from 1970 – 2013, averaging 7.2% per year, albeit from a low base. Paraguay has a moderate inflation rate of 5% on average and international reserves of 20% of GDP, twice the amount of the external national debt.

Paraguay is the second-largest producer of both stevia and tung oil in the world, as well as the sixth-largest producer of soybeans and corn. While unemployment remains low at roughly 4.9%, studies estimate that 30-40% of the population is poor, and in rural areas, 41.2% of the population lacks the monthly income to cover basic necessities.

For investors and entrepreneurs, there are distinct advantages to doing business in Paraguay. By 2015, there were as many cell phones in the country as there were Paraguayans, partly because of poorly run fixed-line telecommunications services. For investors, the agriculture climate is ripe for high returns. The current rates of return in this industry are ~3% plus potential capital growth. Continue reading…

Ep 13 Jason Grullón, Building a Successful Sustainable Clothing Brand in the Dominican Republic

jason grullon - sustainable clothing brand

The mindset of many entrepreneurs has transitioned from profit-first to responsibility first, and it’s a good thing. In a competitive space like the world of fashion, it may not seem that building a successful sustainable clothing brand is the best move – but Jason Grullón and the team at Virtu have made it happen.

In this conversation, I talk with Jason about how he transitioned from Law School into the world of fashion and how he created a company that is not only profitable but is producing quality clothing in a socially responsible way. Continue reading…

Ep 12 Federico Vega, Transforming Transport Logistics in Latin America

federico_vega_cargox - TRANSPORT L OGISTICS

Anytime you have an item that you need to send from here to there you enter the world of transport logistics. It may seem as simple as calling UPS or FedEx, but there’s a lot more that goes into it for the companies that provide the service, not to mention freight companies delivering all around the country. In Latin America, things get even more complicated.

In Brazil, for example, 40% the trucks that are on the road delivering packages and freight are not full. That’s a terrible use of the transport logistics resources that are available. When my guest today, Federico Vega, realized that, he saw an incredible opportunity to solve a problem and create a dynamic company. Through patience, perseverance, and iterations, Federico has built CargoX from the ground up – it’s the Uber for trucking in Brazil.

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