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Venezuela’s Vigorous Entrepreneurial Movement

EWC Venezuela is led by GEN Venezuela, a national affiliate of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. We spoke with Dunia de Barnola, its managing director, on Venezuela’s anticipation to offering its’ entrepreneurs who suffer from so many restrictions on access to resources and connections the opportunity to join a virtuous network of education, training, inspiration and network articulation through the Entrepreneurship World Cup. 

This article is part of a series highlighting EWC national organizers around the world.


GEN: Tell us about you’re the startup ecosystem in your country. What are its main characteristics? If you could change one thing to make it better, what would it be? Who are the stars of your country’s ecosystem?

Dunia de Barnola: The entrepreneurship ecosystem in Venezuela is characterized by having a population endowed with a robust entrepreneurial DNA. The environment conditions are not favorable for the development of the entrepreneurial initiative (politically, economically or legally). However, despite the adverse circumstances of the environment, there is a vigorous entrepreneurial movement that includes almost 20% of the economically active population. Entrepreneurships that are mostly grassroots, but which include high-value initiatives that have managed to position themselves, scale and be successful, demonstrating notable competencies of resilience and commitment. Additionally, there is a dense network of entrepreneurship support organizations in the different regions of the country, which give special strength to the national entrepreneurship ecosystem.

If I could influence any specific factor for the strengthening of our ecosystem, it would be in initiatives that allow improving the general quality of the venture, reducing the high rate of early mortality of ventures. For this, without a doubt, the most important thing would be to influence factors such as coherent public policies of support and freedom for entrepreneurship, structural factors of access to public services (connectivity, electricity, for example) and strengthening of the educational system with the inclusion of entrepreneurial training at different levels.

The most prominent stars in our ecosystem are #fintech-type ventures that have generated solutions of high incidence in the national banking system. Similarly, there are high-value initiatives on issues of social innovation.


GEN: Tell us about your organization. What does it do to support entrepreneurs and/or grow your startup ecosystem?

Dunia de Barnola: GEN Venezuela is the national chapter of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. We promote the different initiatives generated by GEN Global (GEW, GEC, etc.) in the country. Similarly, we promote awareness of “ecosystem” by actively participating in the different activities generated by the National Ecosystem of Entrepreneurship.


GEN: When did you decide to get involved in the Entrepreneurship World Cup and why?

Dunia de Barnola: We decided to get involved in the Entrepreneurship World Cup last September 9, 2020, hoping to advance Venezuelan entrepreneurship as well as to gain exposure for our entrepreneuers through the international community.

GEN: How does EWC support the other work that your organization does?

Dunia de Barnola: It stimulates the dynamism of the ecosystem, promotes effective national and international networking and connects the national entrepreneur with high-level training and acceleration opportunities.

GEN: What do you hope to achieve with EWC 2020?

Dunia de Barnola: We hope to show the world the quality and resilience of Venezuelan entrepreneurship, place ourselves in the eyes of the international community and offer the Venezuelan entrepreneur who suffers from so many restrictions on access to resources and connections the opportunity to join a virtuous network of education, training, inspiration and network articulation.

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