Smart city

Buenos Aires, city of four unicorns

  • 12 Sep

Buenos Aires has been posting impressive growth and four of the eight ‘unicorns’ born and raised in South America have come out of this thriving ecosystem.

The Argentine capital boasts one of the most advanced entrepreneurial ecosystems on the South American continent. Since Mauricio Macri was elected President in 2015, the government has enacted a number of measures designed to foster innovation in the country. The Ley de Emprendedores (Entrepreneurship Act), which was passed in June, means that a person can now set up his/her own business within just 24 hours. Inspired by the Yozma (‘Initiative’) Programme in Israel, the new law is also designed to facilitate the financing of startups through the establishment of new investment funds with capital provided by both the private sector and government agencies. In addition, people looking to set up an innovative business in Buenos Aires will find a strong entrepreneurial mindset and a highly-educated local population, which enables them to recruit the sort of talented young people with technical qualifications that are generally quite hard to find in Latin America.

The result is that four of the eight ‘unicorns’ – startup companies valued at over $1 billion –  based in Latin America are of Argentine parentage. These companies are acting as growth drivers on a continental scale. One of them is MercadoLibre, whose founders went on to establish the dynamic Buenos Aires-based venture capital firm Kaszek Ventures , which has become a benchmark for early-stage investment in South America.  However, even the resilience and drive of these Argentine entrepreneurs is unlikely to be sufficient to cope easily with the inflation with which the country has so often been plagued.