Entrepreneurship workshop is a first for the IOP in Central America

30 June 2015

Scientists and engineers from five countries came to an entrepreneurship workshop – the first to be staged in Central America by the IOP – in Guatemala on 15-19 June.

Guatemala

Around 30 participants attended the Entrepreneurship Regional Congress for Scientists and Engineers, held at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala in Guatemala City. The workshop was aimed at scientists and engineers who were new to the concept of commercialising their ideas and innovations.

The five-day event was sponsored by several organisations including the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, as well as several regional bodies such as CSUSA (the Higher Education Council of Central America) and Guatemala’s National Secretariat for Science and Technology (CONACYT). Representatives of the Guatemalan government also took part as observers.

The IOP organised the programme and speakers and delivered the workshop, which included sessions on evaluating the potential of an innovation, aspects of finance such as raising money to develop an innovation from initial concept to market, safeguarding and managing intellectual property and applying skills in entrepreneurship to the needs of Central American countries.

There were also practical sessions where participants discussed ways to address 10 specific problems in Guatemala and the region as a whole and presented business plans for implementing innovative solutions. Those taking part identified a need for networks to bring universities and industry together, with perhaps some support from the Guatemalan government, and following the workshop some steps were being taken towards this.

The IOP’s international relations manager, Dipali Bhatt-Chauhan, directed the workshop programme with entrepreneur Surya Raghu. Bhatt-Chauhan said commercialisation of innovation was at a very early stage in the region and there was no ecosystem to support it, but Guatemalan government officials and its Ministry of the Economy are keen to develop scientific regional networks and are taking steps towards developing a national entrepreneurship policy.