Project designed to foster high growth entrepreneurship in the city of Manizales, Colombia

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President Healey, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, Manizales Mayor Jorge Rojas and Carlos J. Mattos, Founder and President, Hyundai Colombia Automotiz, S.A., were among the speakers at the Manizales-Plus Project’s Believe, Create, and Grow Forum in Colombia this week.

A collaboration of the leading public and private institutions in Manizales and the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, the four-year Manizales-Plus Project is designed to foster high growth entrepreneurship in the city of Manizales, Colombia. The Manizales-Plus Project (Manizales-Mas in Spanish) is one of the first urban implementations of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Strategy for stimulating high growth entrepreneurship that Babson Executive Education Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice Daniel Isenberg and BEEP have been developing since 2009. The project seeks to enrich the city’s entrepreneurship ecosystem to support ambitious entrepreneurs in rapidly starting new ventures, while accelerating and scaling existing ones. In addition to the City of Manizales, project partners include the five SUMA consortium universities (listed below), the Luker Foundation, Incubar, Parquesoft, the Manizales Chamber of Commerce, and the Caldas Entrepreneurs Network.

“Our partnership is one we expect to be sustainable over many years because we share a common goal – to improve and use existing infrastructure and empower institutions and organizations – to capitalize on the enthusiasm for entrepreneurial activity and instruction,” said President Healey. “The coordination of government leaders, local private entrerprise, lenders, entrepreneurs, combined with a dedicated entrepreneurship education curriculum, is going to unleash the creativity, energy and strong work ethic of individuals and organizations. Entrepreneurship is the essential vehicle to spur development, increase standard of living and deliver lasting change to communities that make the commitment to support and facilitate entrepreneurial action.”

Manizales has a population of about 400,000 people and is located in the heart of the Coffee District of Colombia, a triangle of states including Caldas. The capital of the district, Manizales was founded in 1849 by Antioquian pioneers who left their homes to escape civil war and search for agricultural opportunities and a better quality of life. The founders’ emphasis on education and culture contributed to the city’s concentration of highly regarded universities, international design and jazz festivals, and safe environment. Although it is home to some of the world’s best coffees, Manizales suffered a rise in unemployment and decrease in standards of living when the coffee markets contracted about 30 years ago.

Follow @ManizalesMas on Twitter and on Facebook.

About SUMA

SUMA is a local consortium of 5 national, private, and local universities that share students, faculty, and other resources. The partners in SUMA include the University of Caldas, The Autonomous University of Manizales, the Catholic University, the National University of Columbia and the University of Manizales. The collective student population is about 25,000 students.

About Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project (BEEP)

The Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project is an action research project to develop the entrepreneurial capacity in defined localities, by bringing together the policies, structures, programs and climate that foster entrepreneurship.

By Hilary Katulak,, 781-239-4623 | 09/26/2013 06:00