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Manizales Más Celebrates Five Years of Fostering Growth, Employment, and Prosperity Among the Local Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Manizales MasManizales Más, Babson’s entrepreneurship and economy-boosting collaboration with the Colombian city of Manizales, has driven an average 46 percent growth among 73 high-potential companies in just five years.

These companies have registered an average $39 million in sales, created 1,392 new jobs, and attracted 1,679 new customers, in addition to eight exporting companies.

Such growth within Manizales’ entrepreneurial community has been made possible thanks to this public, private, and academic partnership, based on the globally-recognized entrepreneurship ecosystem concepts of Daniel Isenberg—Program Director of Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Platform (BEEP).

“Babson is thrilled to celebrate five successful years of partnership with Manizales Más,” said Babson College President Kerry Healey. “The unique collaboration among public, private, and academic leaders in Manizales – along with a community of aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners – has catalyzed an entrepreneurial ecosystem that promotes growth, employment and prosperity. Manizales exemplifies how entrepreneurs of all kinds can transform lives, businesses and communities for the better.”

On September 27-28, Babson joined Manizales Más in Colombia for a special conference in celebration of the project’s five impactful years in the region. Babson participants included President Kerry Healey, BEEP Executive Director Daniel Isenberg, Dean of Executive Education David Abdow, and more.

The event focused on making connections—specifically, connecting with other economies in order to grow. It included a host of panel discussions, including attendees and speakers from Colombia, the United States, Chile, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Brazil.

“From our beginnings, we have been dedicated to generating the necessary conditions to create and grow companies. We are sure that knowledge plus action transform the economic model, achieving an innovative development model. What is coming to companies that are part of Manizales Más will be to connect with other economies at an international level, “said Marcela Escobar, director of Manizales Más.

Led by BEEP as one of its first urban implementations, and conducted primarily by Babson faculty, Manizales-Más works with an array of public and private leaders in Colombia to improve the societal and economic factors that impact entrepreneurship. Some of its programming activities include:

  • Broad cultural interventions helping change social norms to support entrepreneurial endeavors;
  • An acceleration program to quickly boost growth in existing businesses;
  • Ecosystem trainings for local leaders, including state and municipal government, universities, financial institutions, businesses, NGOs, entrepreneurs, etc.;
  • Entrepreneurial curricular and co-curricular activities;
  • ‘Startup-Mas’ to help students formulate business ideas,’ AddVenture-Mas’ to accelerate startups with product concepts, and ‘Scalerator’ programs to stimulate rapid growth within established ventures;
  • A Finance Innovation Task Force to develop innovative debt-equity financial instruments;
  • Mentoring programs; and more.

Manizales Mas