While investors have long been attracted by the natural resources in Bolivia, the country has undergone a digital transformation in recent years. The government, financial institutions and private companies are incorporating more digital technologies to bring Bolivia up to speed with its South American counterparts, and new initiatives across the country are nurturing a generation of young entrepreneurs.
Talent Pool & Education
Local startups are bringing together entrepreneurs in the tech community to collaborate and share their knowledge with the younger population. In 2019, the Silicon Valley-based Founder Institute officially launched a pre-seed accelerator program in Bolivia’s commercial center, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, to provide mentorship and funding, and to help formalize the country’s entrepreneurial scene. Bolivia Tech Hub, an early-stage incubator and the first to operate as a co-work venture, also runs educational programmes for children aged 8-15.
While Spanish is the official language, Bolivians in general have a high level of English. Bolivian business professionals have minimal language barriers and very similar experiences to our North American teams.
Bolivia’s reliance on the oil and gas industry has left its economy vulnerable, hamstrung by rising debt and a devalued currency. Investment in the technology and education sector by the government is focusing on tech manufacture, telecommunications, fintech and financial services, with initiatives such as low-interest loans to support SMEs and startups. More development of private investment will be key to further diversifying the economy.
Violent protests followed claims of electoral fraud in the October 2019 general election, leading to the resignation of left-wing leader Evo Morales. A return to the ballot box in May was delayed when Bolivia went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the political climate remains uncertain, there is minimal disruption to the business community, and the usual common-sense precautions when travelling in Latin America are advised.