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Fifth Annual Endeavor Colombia Conference Brings Together Top Latin American Network Members in Bogotá

The 5th annual Endeavor Colombia Conference took place in Bogotá this month with the theme “A Day to Think Big”, aiming to inspire entrepreneurs and audiences with the high-impact stories of Endeavor’s network and provide a top forum for networking. The […]

October 21st, 2014 — by admin

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Greece’s Hellas Direct Named a National Champion by the European Business Awards

The European Business Awards, an annual honor that recognizes innovation and ethics in the regional business community, recently named Greece’s Hellas Direct to its rankings. Along with a selection of businesses representing more than 30 European countries, Hellas Direct joins a list of […]

September 22nd, 2014 — by admin

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Global Board Member Fadi Ghandour Discusses Barriers to Scale for MENA Entrepreneurs

dubaiThis post comes from Fadi Ghandour, who is the founder of Aramex, a board member of Endeavor, and the Chairman of Wamda, an organization that works to empower entrepreneurs in the MENA region. View the original post on the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Insights page.

“Two-thirds of the Arab World ‘s population is below the age of 29. The region is not only growing younger, but also becoming more literate. With rising levels of education, connectivity, and mobility, the biggest challenge remains: How do we create good jobs for the restless millions?

Entrepreneurs are drivers of growth, innovation, and competitiveness. A recent World Bank report on small and medium sized companies (SMEs) shows that the highest contributors to employment are firms with less than 100 employees. And, not surprisingly, it is scalable businesses that generate the biggest share of economic opportunities. A study conducted by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Stanford University and Endeavor in 2011 reveals that the top 5% of the 380,000 companies surveyed across 10 European and Asian countries have generated 72% of total revenue and 67% of the total employment recorded by these companies.

And yet, although scalability is critical for job creation, company founders still encounter many barriers when starting and growing their businesses. For startups to thrive, the different ecosystem players must understand the nature and source of these obstacles and work hard to eliminate them. But without comprehensive, up-to-date data they will not be able to craft viable, practical solutions.

Wamda’s newest initiative, the Wamda Research Lab (WRL), is focused on publishing research and insights on regional entrepreneurial activity to inform policy makers, investors, and other stakeholders on the critical challenges and gaps in this space. In its first report, The Next Step: Breaking barriers to scale for MENA entrepreneurs, WRL identifies the hurdles company founders face in generating revenues, raising capital, attracting talent, building teams, and facilitating expansion. Our study reveals that 63% of entrepreneurs and 60% of experts consider finding talent to build teams as a major challenge. Access to new markets is yet another central issue: 47% of entrepreneurs and 50% of experts cited difficulty in finding partners to facilitate expansion as an impediment to scale. Moreover, 41% of entrepreneurs said that the biggest restraint to generating revenues is marketing products and services.

The fact remains that the region’s outdated education systems, which continue to graduate generations of unemployable youth with no competitive 21st century skills, and its fragmented markets that allow little mobility of people and companies, are stifling the growth of entrepreneurs, and innovators. Unemployment needs to be considered in every policy, national strategy, private-sector initiative, and social activity. It is time we collectively deploy our knowledge, resources, capital, and networks to enable entrepreneurship as a development tool. I encourage all stakeholders – governments, investors, entrepreneurship institutions, universities, civil society, large corporations, and entrepreneurs – to read this report and take its conclusions seriously, in the hope that they will trigger effective action and positive change.

Finally, I would like to thank Endeavor Insight for their guidance, support, and expertise throughout the entirety of this project.”

Colombia’s Ecoflora Featured in WIPO Case Study Highlighting Advancements in R&D

LogoEcoflora2Colombia-based Ecoflora, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Nicolás Cock Duque, was recently profiled in a case study by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a global forum for IP services, policy and cooperation, created as part of the United Nations and including more than 180 member states. The group’s mission is to lead the development of an international intellectual property system that enables and protects innovation and creativity rights. Ecoflora’s patent and trademark progress in the biotechnology space caught WIPO’s attention, leading to an in-depth study on how the company leverages its assets, fosters private-public sector collaboration, and pioneered an industry in an unexpected market.

A biotech and natural products company that provides a range of alternative ingredients for use in agriculture, food and personal care products, Ecoflora has transformed the region’s industry and demonstrated potential for high-impact, global growth. With over 15 products and 30 applications developed over the past decade, Ecoflora is a testament to the potential of emerging markets to drive innovation despite challenging economic factors, having already filed for nearly a dozen patents on an international scale.

Originally a family-owned flower business established in 1998, Ecoflora presented Nicolás - a civil engineer by trade – with the opportunity to develop commercial and sustainable products for the horticultural industry. By 2012, the company had over 15 major products in its portfolio, ranging from EdiBlue, a food and beverage colorant, to Myrica Waxm, a berry extract that can be used as a base in cosmetics and soaps. Having struck partnerships with universities, government institutions and laboratories to develop its products and promote agricultural research, Ecoflora is uniquely positioned to bridge barriers to scale in the region and take its niche market to a global stage.

Now with over 40 employees in his Medellin headquarters alone and over 20 R&D laboratories in his network, Nicolás has demonstrated how access to mentorship, capital and talent can enable emerging market entrepreneurs to become high-impact leaders. Since being selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in  2007, Nicolás has been an active network member, receiving  local publicity support and mentorship while also participating in the eMBA and G-Lab programs, the 2013 Endeavor Summit, and more.

“Endeavor helped us refine our global strategy and business model as well as understand our opportunities for scale,” Nicolás said in an interview. “With our intellectual property in particular, Endeavor mentors offered invaluable advice that will help guide our international expansion strategy and show that Colombia is a cradle of sustainable innovation and talent.”

Read the entire WIPO case study by clicking here.

Endeavor and the SAP Social Sabbatical Program Featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review

SSIR_Logo_2013The Stanford Social Innovation Review recently profiled the Social Sabbatical program at SAP, an Endeavor sponsor, and the software giant’s efforts to transform emerging market economies by leveraging the expertise of its employees. Developed in partnership with  PYXERA Global, the program offers high-performing employees the chance to work with emerging market organizations and entrepreneurs in order to gain critical leadership and cross-industry skills.

Co-authored by Alexandra van der Ploeg, interim head of global CSR at SAP, and Deirdre White, CEO of PYXERA, the article emphasizes the need for corporations to better equip their talent base with knowledge of emerging markets, while also giving employees the opportunity to pursue socially-conscious causes. Launched in 2012, the Social Sabbatical program is SAP’s initiative to address these understandings, allowing employees to participate in short-term pro-bono assignments with growing organizations around the world.

In particular, a global group of 12 SAP employees, including marketing managers, software engineers, quality controllers and more, traveled to Johannesburg in October 2013 to spend a month advising four organizations, including the team at Endeavor South Africa. In order to address the challenges of growing a network of mentors and potential investors, three SAP employees worked with the local office to design an implementation strategy for an Investor Network event, research prospective markets and investors, and craft an internal and external marketing strategy. Learn more about Endeavor South Africa’s work with the program by clicking here.

Earlier in 2013, the Review also highlighted Endeavor’s partnership with EY on the Americas Corporate Responsibility (CR) Fellows Program (now the EY Vantage Program), which also places high-performing employees on short-term assignments with emerging market companies. In the piece, Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg and Deborah K. Holmes, EY Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility, presented essential tips for designing successful CSR programs. Since 2006, EY Fellows have donated nearly 30,000 hours to working with Endeavor Entrepreneurs in the Americas.

View the full SSIR piece by clicking here.

April 2014 Newsletter

April 2014To view Endeavor’s April newsletter, a recap of all the top news stories from the previous month, please CLICK HERE.

Reminder: To receive our monthly newsletters by email, please enter your email address in the sign-up box at the bottom of our homepage.

Endeavor Catalyst Invests in Argentina’s GoIntegro and Brazil’s ToLife Following New Rounds of Funding

Endeavor-Catalyst-LogoEndeavor Catalyst recently announced co-investments in Argentina’s GoIntegro and Brazil’s ToLife following new rounds of financing raised by both companies. Led by Riverwood Capital and Kaszek Ventures, GoIntegro’s $5 million Series B round will help the growing software firm continue its expansion efforts in Latin America. Similarly, ToLife’s Series B round led by Vox Capital will support the healthcare technology firm’s plans to serve more health centers and patients throughout Brazil.

gointegroFounded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Germán Dyzenchauz and Gaston Lejtman in 2002, GoIntegro is a leading SaaS social engagement platform for companies in Latin America, offering a suite of software applications to manage internal communications, corporate benefits, recognition programs and incentives. With presences in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Ecuador, the company boasts more than 300 corporate clients and reaches upwards of one million daily users with revenue growth of 30% in 2013. As a result of this latest investment, GoIntegro aims to further its expansion efforts in Latin America, specifically in the Mexican and Brazilian markets. Riverwood and Kaszek also led the company’s Series A round in 2012, and this latest announcement reaffirms investor faith in the entrepreneurs’ high-impact business model.

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2011, Germán and Gaston have received custom mentoring and strategic advising from Endeavor’s network along with connections through Endeavor Investor Network events, culminating in Endeavor Catalyst’s participation in this latest round.

“Being selected by Endeavor as high-impact entrepreneurs was incredibly helpful in allowing us to achieve our growing goals, close investment rounds and share experiences with an extensive network of mentors and entrepreneurs,” said Germán in a statement. “We feel part of a community around the world with common problems and challenges, and Endeavor is the epicenter of it all.”

TolifeBased in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, ToLife was founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Leonardo Lima de Carvalho in 2009 with the goal of innovating Brazil’s healthcare system, which has been plagued by inefficiencies and lagging patient wait times. ToLife is a system that automates the patient screening process based on individual risk ratings, leveraging internationally recognized health protocols. The system manages the flow of patient care in emergency units and monitors the capacity of other care centers in the surrounding area with its three-part software, hardware and service bundle. Since its founding, the company has worked to cut both the risk of mortality caused by cardiovascular complications and the average patient wait time in half, having implemented more than 5,000 healthcare units across 850 Brazilian cities.

Since joining the Endeavor network in 2012, Leonardo has received local advisory services from Endeavor mentors and participated in global events like the Endeavor Summit and Endeavor Investor Network sessions. It was at a June 2012 Investor Network event in London that Leonardo made a connection with Kelly Michel, the UK-based co-founder of Potencia Ventures and Vox Capital. This introduction ultimately led to Vox Capital’s Brazil team becoming the lead investor on this recent round and Endeavor Catalyst’s ability to participate.

About Endeavor Catalyst

Endeavor Catalyst is a passive co-investment vehicle that allows Endeavor Global to invest in Endeavor Entrepreneurs in a neutral, unbiased way. The main goal of this program is to use the returns of the investment to support Endeavor’s operations. The fund also contributes to Endeavor’s mission as it promotes professional third-party angel and venture capital investors to take a stronger interest in emerging market investment opportunities. Learn more about Endeavor Catalyst by clicking here.

Endeavor Investor Network Highlights Growing Presence in Mexico

Investor network LogoIf you’ve been following the impressive rise of entrepreneurship in Mexico, you’ve likely heard of mobile media juggernaut Naranya, car-sharing service Carrot (who recently picked-up an additional $2m in funding) and IT services leader Intellego (just last week named a World Economic Forum Global Growth Company in Latin America), but what you may not know is that all of these are Endeavor portfolio companies. These entrepreneurs represent a new wave of entrepreneurs that are successfully navigating Mexico’s capital markets to scale global companies and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs to do the same.

Naranya, Carrot and Intellego represent only three of the 80+ companies in the Endeavor Mexico portfolio today. Within this impressive group, nearly 25% have plans to bring on an equity partner this year – including exciting, earlier-stage companies like YaxiParkimovil, and Petsy.

In addition to backing some of the fastest growing companies in the country, Endeavor Mexico also officially launched the Mexico chapter of the Endeavor Investor Network in October 2013. In just a matter of months, the Endeavor Investor Network chapter in Mexico has grown to be one of the largest and strongest Endeavor Investor Network offerings at any of Endeavor’s world-wide affiliates. At the helm of this impressive network is Vincent Speranza, COO of Endeavor Mexico, who has grown the network to 10+ member firms, who collectively represent the strongest equity capital partners in Mexico. Participating member funds include:

Alta Ventures
Angel Ventures Fund
Founders into Funders
GBM
InventMx 
Latin Idea
Naranya Ventures
NMP Fund
ON Ventures
PC Capital
Promotora Social Mexico (PSM)
Venture Partners 

Notably, four of the eleven new members are investment funds led by Endeavor Entrepreneurs themselves: Heberto Taracena Ble (InventMx); Juan Manuel Alvarado (Founders into Funders); Alejandro Villalón and Jorge Gonzalez (ON Ventures) and Arturo Galvan (Naranya Ventures). As the profile of successful Mexican entrepreneurs – and investments – becomes increasingly common in discourse globally, Endeavor has noticed a rise in international interest both from the investment community and Silicon Valley’s leading tech companies. We saw this in action during the Endeavor Investor Network event in Mexico last October 2013 (read more here), where global investors like Amadeus Capital, AMEX Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners descended upon Mexico City together with corporate leaders from companies such as Facebook, EA and Stripe.

The Endeavor Investor Network will next convene a global gathering in Mexico City or Monterrey in November 2014 (exact date TBD), but should your travel plans take you to Mexico in the coming months, please don’t hesitate to be in touch!

Endeavor Investor Network Interview with Nils Galdo Nogales, Founding Partner of InverSur Capital

nilsgaldoThis interview is the first of an exclusive series highlighting members of the worldwide Endeavor Investor Network. Earlier this month, Mariana Poblete of Endeavor Chile caught up with Nils Galdo Nogales, Founding Partner of InverSur Capital (iS Cap) — an Endeavor Investor Network member in Chile (2013-present) to gather his insights on investments in Latin America.

ENDEAVOR: Tell us a little bit about InverSur Capital (iS CAP).

NILS GALDO NOGALES: In early-2013, we raised our first fund of USD $35M, through which we expect to invest in 10-12 companies. Our average ticket size is USD $1.5M, with considerable capital reserved for follow-on investments. To date, our fund has invested USD $4.3M in three companies and expects to invest in three additional companies by the end of this calendar year (2014).

Our fund’s geographic thesis is the Southern Cone of Latin America, with a particular focus on Chilean companies. Through our current fund, we invest primarily in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. We will consider investing in other economic sectors through future funds.

ENDEAVOR: Which firms have co-invested with InverSur? Have you invested in any Endeavor companies?

NILS GALDO NOGALES: To date, we have co-invested with Angel Investors, Copec UC and Fundación Chile. As we continue to invest in this region, we are open to syndicating deals with both current and new global/regional equity investors. We have not yet invested in an Endeavor company but recently backed an Endeavor pipeline company — Mediastream. We would be proud if our entrepreneurs could later become Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

ENDEAVOR: What are the current trends that you see in Chile and LatAm?

NILS GALDO NOGALES: Overall, we see the continuing growth of entrepreneurial and VC activity. More and more entrepreneurs are choosing Chile as their launch-pad for development and the VC industry is matching this growth in entrepreneurship with additional funds.

Although the exit environment in the Southern Cone is yet to be proven, with firms like ours working to develop a clear path for local and /or regional “exits,” we hope to see a big impact in the next couple of years.

Over time, the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Latin America has matured and is presenting a more innovative, resourceful generation of entrepreneurs. This provides a base for both entrepreneurs and other related actors to aim for larger and better growth opportunities. Entrepreneurs from Chile are thinking of the broader region as the potential market for their company, which is contributing to the robust business opportunities that are present in our market.

ENDEAVOR: Any advice for international investors looking to enter the Southern Cone?

NILS GALDO NOGALES: It is always good to have different kinds of actors in the Latin American entrepreneurship ecosystem. My suggestion for international investors is to try to do things with the local ones to better understand the particular contexts as well as business operating norms. For local actors it is good to work with our international counterparts to learn from their experiences and share ours.

ENDEAVOR: Is there anything else that we should know about InverSur?

NILS GALDO NOGALES: The iS Cap office is located in Telefónica´s Open Future, a 1600 square-meter building in Santiago, Chile that hosts the largest entrepreneurial community in the region. Over 700 start-ups have their HQ in the building. Some tenants include Telefónica, BCI (4th largest bank in Chile) and Start-Up Chile, giving us early access to start-ups and tendencies that put InverSur Capital at the center of the local ecosystem.

InverSur Capital(iS Cap) is a member of Endeavor’s Investor Network in Chile. The fund was co-founded in early-2013 by Nils Galdo NogalesThe fund invests in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies with proven business models and the potential for global scalability. iS Cap through its Amerigo Chile Fund is part of the Amerigo network of technology venture capital investment funds, promoted by Telefónica. The Amerigo Network has operations in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Spain.

Nils Galdo Nogaleshas over 10 years of experience in the entrepreneurial and venture capital ecosystem in Latin America. Prior to co-founding InverSur Capital, he co-founded and led ChileGlobal Angels, the angel network sponsored by Fundación Chile. Prior to that, Nils worked for Endeavor Chile; Nils is an active mentor and advisor to several regional companies and initiatives.

Endeavor Research Featured in Top Outlets Including The Atlantic, Inc. Magazine and The New York Times

IncNYTAtlanticRecent research released by the Endeavor network was featured in top news publications including The Atlantic, Inc. Magazine and The New York Times, highlighting a growing public interest in global entrepreneurship and the efforts of high-impact entrepreneurs.

Inc. Magazine, The Atlantic and The Atlantic Cities profiled Endeavor Insight’s findings on what entrepreneurs look for in a city and the qualities that prove most attractive to founders. Read a recap of the articles by clicking here.

In addition, research from Endeavor Greece on the country’s entrepreneurship and investment opportunities was mentioned in a piece in The New York Times and spotlighted in a BloombergTV interview with Endeavor Greece Managing Director Haris Makryniotis. Read about the research and view the interview by clicking here.

Endeavor Staff Featured at the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Moscow

GEC2014The 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Congress  took place in Moscow, Russia this year from March 17th – 20th, convening industry leaders, top entrepreneurs and policymakers in an annual event that promotes ecosystems of entrepreneurship and innovation worldwide. The main planning event for Global Entrepreneurship Week, an Endeavor partner, this year’s GEC was also co-hosted by the Moscow City Government and the Kauffman Foundation. Eleven members of Endeavor’s staff attended representing offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Turkey, Uruguay, and the U.S.

With over 7,000 participants from more than 150 countries, the four day conference highlighted themes ranging from ecosystem development to startup financing, featuring an agenda of over 80 events taking the form of interactive workshops, keynotes and speaker sessions. Notable speakers this year included Peter Vesterbacka, CMO of Rovio Entertainment, Kathleen D. Kennedy, Chief Strategy Officer of MIT Technology Review, Boris Titov, Russian Federation Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights, Karim Rashid,  industrial designer and architect, and Ingrid Vanderveldt, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell.

From the Endeavor network, five staff members had the opportunity to speak at this year’s events, demonstrating the organization’s growing role in the global entrepreneurship landscape. Below are highlights of Endeavor’s participation this year.

Endeavor Insight Director Rhett Morris spoke on a panel focused on “Moving Towards Evidence-Based Policy-Making”, which highlighted the disparity between entrepreneurship policy and the actual needs of entrepreneurs and small business owners. During the panel, Rhett pointed to a recent Endeavor Insight report on Miami’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, which revealed that what entrepreneurs viewed as their biggest challenges differed from the views of policymakers, reinforcing the need for local leaders to craft programming and agendas based on more research and direct feedback from entrepreneurs. In addition, Rhett moderated a panel on “Mapping Entrepreneurship Ecosystems”, which highlighted an emerging field of data visualization that focuses on trends in entrepreneurship and seeks to better identify and understand global ecosystems. In particular, the panel discussed the need for organizations to share research and data and involve entrepreneurial communities in the process of mapping, which has the potential to reveal significant patterns and insights to business leaders, policymakers and the general public.

Endeavor Global’s Marissa Carberry, a Manager on the Marketing & Communications team, participated in a “Social Media 101″ panel session tailored to GEW Lead Hosts, with the goal of identifying best practices for managing social media campaigns and maximizing engagement during GEW. Marissa and Endeavor Turkey‘s Senior  Marketing Associate Alev Ertem discussed a joint Endeavor social media campaign entitled #EndvrTale conducted during GEW 2013, highlighting Endeavor Entrepreneurs and taking advantage of the week-long social conversation occurring around global entrepreneurship. Read more about Endeavor’s efforts during GEW 2013, including highlights from Twitter, by clicking here. Alev also made note of Endeavor Turkey’s partnership with Endeavor Entrepreneur company Youthholding, founded by Aslı Caner and Emrah Kayawhich has helped the office improve its digital and social presence across multiple channels with a particular focus on engaging younger generations of entrepreneurs in the region.

Managing Director of Endeavor Argentina Gabriela Macagni participated in a session of presentations entitled “Pitches and New Ideas”, which allowed various organizations to present innovative developments in their programming or events. Gabriela introduced the Startup Camp Latin America program, a series of digital events hosted by Argentina during GEW 2013 that convened over 4,000 Latin American entrepreneurs online for educational and support programming focused on startups. Finally, Pamella Goncalves from Endeavor Brazil‘s Entrepreneur Services team spoke on a panel session focused on “Metrics, Impact & Funding”, detailing methods for measuring and gauging the impact of entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Endeavor has a been an active supporter of the GEC since it launched in 2009, even co-hosting the 2013 GEC in Rio de Janeiro which also featured many members of the Endeavor network, including staff, mentors and entrepreneurs. To learn more about this year’s conference, including summaries of the events and video highlights, click here.

Two Mexico Entrepreneurs Named Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2014

schwab foundationThe  Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Awards is an annual list of the top innovators driving global, regional and industry agendas to improve the state of the world. The 2014 list of 30 entrepreneurs includes two Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Mexico – Javier Lozano, co-founder of Clinicas del Azucar, and Patrick Struebi, founder of Fairtrasa. This honor demonstrates the impact of Endeavor Entrepreneurs in the social sector and the increasing global recognition of entrepreneurs working to transform under-served communities.

Javier co-founded Clinicas del Azucar (“Sugar Clinics”) with fellow entrepreneur Fernanda Zorrilla in order to serve diabetes patients in Mexico, where the disease claims the lives of tens of thousands each year. The chain of low-cost diabetes management clinics aims to address issues of prevention, treatment and awareness in low-income communities where proper care is often lacking. The Clinicas have reduced patients’ annual costs by 70% and lowered diabetes complication rates by 60%, addressing a critical socioeconomic issue with an innovative healthcare model. Since joining the Endeavor network at the 50th ISP in 2013, the entrepreneurs have been active in sessions with Endeavor mentors, developing a strategy to improve and expand upon their business model.

Patrick left the corporate sector after almost a decade in order to start Fairtrasa, a fair trade and organic produce company based in Michoacan, Mexico. Fairtrasa works with hundreds of small farmers in Mexico and other emerging economies in Latin America to produce and distribute high-quality organic and fair trade fruits, wine, and spices in international markets at reasonable prices. The social enterprise aims to help small farmers out of poverty while opening the global market to local goods, equipping its network with financial capital, training programs and technical support. Since his selection at the 39th ISP in 2011, Patrick has received custom advisory from Endeavor’s Venture Corps network while also regularly participating in leadership and fundraising events.

Other Endeavor Entrepreneurs who have been honored by the Foundation in past years include Mois Cherem of Mexico’s ENOVA, Felipe Vergara of Colombia’s Lumni, and Bedriye Hülya of Turkey’s B-Fit. View the full list of 2014 Awardees by clicking here.

Watch the Awards ceremony at the World Economic Forum on Latin America (April 1st – 3rd) in Panama City:

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