Enterprise spin–off spin-out; Montevideo style

I am in Montevideo in Uruguay, working on Enterprise Development projects.


I am here with colleagues Peter Taylor, Lester Lloyd-Reason and Lianne Miller from CEDAR in Cambridge

We are offering workshops on a wide range of Enterprise support.

In-between our creativity training sessions we make a series of visits – the most interesting being to startups, incubators and co-working spaces..

The highlight was visiting two great co-working spaces Da Vinci and Sinergia

Da Vinci:



They have this statement …

Serendipity is our key concept:

The word serendipity relates to a lucky discovery that comes unexpectedly. Co-Work, we facilitate business serendipity generating bodies such as lectures, workshops and what never fails … a good lounge with unlimited coffee grain.

Da Vinci is a co-working and business support centre that focuses on hi-tech – the kids (mostly young 20 somethings) in the space are … pumped!. An international perspective and dynamic outlook is a necessity if you want to be here. The market is too small for domestic development only – “lets conquer the word” is the mind-set!

Businesses are recognisable – a new model for bulk storage, apps for on-line payments, booking apps for hair salons, some cool looking 3D printing and I just love the international perspective. Supported by the indefatigable Sergio Delgado; these guys are working hard and fast on hi-tech start ups and the ecosystem within the incubator feels strong.

Here’s an article about some of the businesses;


If you are looking for an in to the lucrative South American Market I think a great entry-point is through Da Vinci – these guys are smart. See what they have on offer. Angel and Venture Capital investment is relatively low but rewards are potentially high…

and they are moving fast and smartly into the market…

Next we head to Sinergia is another working space – a bit “cooler ” than Da Vinci, it has some special ingredients. It is more layered that DaVinci in that it is not just focused on Tech start-ups but on balanced business ecosystem which sees a lot of different type of businesses from Services to Research to hi-Tech.



What is special about Sinergia is the space itself and the culture within it. Regular meetings and social events including Friday lunches, breakfasts, yoga sessions and beer on the terrace make for a dynamic environment…

Plenty of open co-working space desks sit outside of the glass fronted offices – an enticement to move up and on.

With the hotline to government seed money (via Anii), support to set up limited companies (Sinergia takes 6% of share capital) plus access to investment makes this space a prized asset.

What I like about this place is that it is full of “can do” and “will do”  energy and support; from marketing to financial production to technical they are all supporting each other… and with the indefatigable team led by Macarena, anything can happen and it probably will…

Fun video gives you a flavour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PxpydAHHDA


ANII is the main government agency for innovation and supporting start-ups in Uruguay, they are working to forge links between incubation spaces, education establishments and international markets. For a Government Agency I feel like they are moving fast and  in a focused way! I like these guys – they are about solving problems – not causing them!



InGenio at LATU is another government supported agency, they are focused on Hi-tech two year growth programmes again working in a focused dynamic way, led by the calm and focused Director Rafael Garcia Moreira


and their video:


The final visit we made was to Bioe-Spinn, with Bio-tech businesses being developed – really great labs with clearly defined development opportunities. My colleague Peter Taylor TTP (http://www.ttp.com/) was impressed by the set-up – and if he’s impressed.. so am I!


Here’s to future, here’s to Uruguay…

Now – my job to inspire all these guys to be even better!

Hope I don’t mess up – it was all going so well for them…


3, 5, 7 or 9 cows for every person and 20 million sheep(s) too.

For the past ten days I have been in Argentina and Uruguay working with Incubators and start-ups bursting forth on the South American Economy.


My job? Inspire and imprint Creating Thinking, Enterprise Culture and Communication skills to the three sectors that really matter… folks running Incubators, the start-ups themselves the Investors – oh and the educators – although they perhaps don’t make my list of three!?!

All run by the national agency for  investigation and innovation…ANII (amazing, lovely people!)



The majority of my time was spent in Uruguay – Montevideo. Very generous and how can I put it – semi-dynamic people…by this I mean kind, friendly and still working on conquering the world – mind-sets are still verging on inferiority a tiny country wedged between the powerhouses of Brazil and Argentina .

But hey Uruguay (as we were reminded..) have won the world cup TWICE – a country the size of wales – and how many times have Wales won the world Cup?

So despite the inferiority on the surface the Uruguayans have a deep-rooted sense of … we can infact conquer the world.!

I travelled to South American on behalf of CEDAR at Anglia Ruskin University


This was a trade mission to inspire and support Enterprise activity.

So I taught three things and I learned three things.

Let’s start with Learned …

Uruguay Won the world Cup – twice

Uruguay is going places – no doubt

In Uruguay there are either 3, 5 or 7 cows per person and 20 million sheep(s).

Clearly they love their cows – mostly on a plate having been cooked on a barbeque and served as Asado –


They also love their unique wine – the grape is Tannat – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tannat

Yes cows – every meal – every conversation…

Conversation One

“ how do you like Uruguay?”

“ Yes Great – thank you”

did you know there are three cows per person IN Uruguay and 10 million sheep(s)!”

Conversation Two:

How do you like your steak?


Did you know there are five cows per person in Uruguay? And 20 million sheep(s) ..

Conversation three

How do you like your wine?


Did you know there are seven cows per person and 30 million sheep(s)…

Whatever else I learned during this week there are a lot of cows and sheep in Uruguay and that the teaching of the plural of sheep has not yet permeated English language training…

It was the perfect Uruguay joke/statement/conversation – more cows that people – was friendly and fun… And of course whenever someone says sheeps rather than sheep you have to smile…

Add in the bizarre drink “Mate” seriously .. you drink that!!!???

In my workshops, in our visits to incubators, Co-working spaces, government agencies, to theatres, restaurants and bars it was clear that pride is pumping, the economy is good, the cows are grazing, the people lovely  and that Uruguay is on the map – even if it is a speck of a country wedged between two giants…

So to work… 3, 5, 7 workshops…