Fernando Flores
Mexico City Office Manager
GREENid
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View from the Top

Synergies Between Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 09:36

Q: How does Green ID bridge the supply and demand for new clean and smart technologies in energy and water in Mexico?

A: Both founders of GREENid are Mexican and we studied sustainable energy technologies. The business model resembles a bridge and this image has driven the company forward as it strives to connect emerging markets with established ones around the world. GREENid wants to reduce the technology gap and promote the smooth transfer of technologies. One of the questions that have emerged from the Energy Reform is how to do business in this new environment, and companies are now evaluating which technologies will best suit their needs of the future. We are a link that provides the information the industry players need and it gives companies the best available business scenarios. We serve as a bridge between key stakeholders and the most advanced technology suppliers to create the most sustainable project.

Q: What are the highlights of this unique business model, and how can these be applied to the Mexican market?

A: We represent the Dutch Cycling Embassy and we have been involved with several successful activities with this entity. We also developed a new concept of doing business with communities called the Sustainable Seed Project, and it is aimed at rural communities that need energy. In general terms, we select a public building in a community and we transform it not only by applying new technologies, but also by carrying out technology workshops and identifying the real needs of the community.

We held a competition in the Netherlands for start-ups and entrepreneurs that wished to participate in the project and form part of a new endeavour in another market. This way we could encourage the implementation of new technologies and companies that wanted to develop projects in these rural communities. Networking is crucial when creating strong business ties and we have over 300 entrepreneurs in our sustainable technology network, all of which are looking for opportunities to enter Mexico.

Q:What is the link you have discovered between entrepreneurship and innovation?

A: Innovation is crucial so we have close links with regional science parks and universities. We see the possibility of creating an internship program for Mexican entrepreneurs in key industries called Pioneers in Technology. In this program, entrepreneurs can shadow key stakeholders in their respective industries and learn best practices. Most of the entrepreneurs originate from start-ups in different incubators and we offer them the opportunity to test out their technologies in other markets around the world. We are in the process of creating a green innovation hub, which is an online platform where entrepreneurs can see where other players in other sectors are established.

Q: What opportunities exist for entrepreneurs working with the giants of the market?

A: The prospect of entrepreneurs partnering up with large companies depends on how the project is tailored and technology opportunity. We can help big companies learn more about new technologies and give a chance to entrepreneurs to become partners. There are funds that support the development of new technologies, but the only drawback is that some funds ask for a proportion of the intellectual property and this can be difficult to negotiate. The aim is not to put the entrepreneur at a disadvantage by working with a large player, but rather to complement technologies and experience.

Q: How do the barriers converge between Mexican and foreign entrepeneurs wishing to enter the market?

A: The barriers Mexican entrepreneurs face are networking and accessibility to funds, and regrettably these two are interlinked. Most of the funds are locked and very few can reach them so entrepreneurs need the support of more experienced players to gain access. Obtaining funds can be very complex for start-ups to untangle so many incubators have coaching to help the process. However, after a startup completes the incubator program it is left to its own devices and this can be daunting for the entrepreneur. It is important to create a community of entrepreneurs so they can share business experience and identify opportunities. International entrepreneurs, have to face new types of risks, so in order to reduce these barriers they must establish ties with local players and this is where we step in.