By Robert L. Scheier
An online selection campaign called E|100 West has been launched to identify the top 100 entrepreneurs in Western Mexico.
The nominees consist of entrepreneurs who are expected to create or lead a successful company in the next two or three years, and who have significant ties to the states of Aguascalientes, Colima, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit and Zacatecas.
Sponsored by the State of Jalisco’s Enterprise Development Fund, or FOJAL; Tecnológico de Monterrey, which has a Guadalajara campus; and Innovación Disruptiva, a consultancy committed to helping companies develop innovation strategies, the aim is to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit in Western Mexico.
The low entry threshold is intended to maximize participation as a form of crowdsourcing, which leverages the knowledge inherent in large groups. That said, the process follows strict guidelines, and is monitored by an Independent Transparency Committee, which is comprised of members of the participating entrepreneurial community.
One of the specific benefits that organizers hope to generate from the competition is increased communication amongst entrepreneurs, which will then lead to mentoring and cross-discipline collaboration. It also aims at using the competition to develop business ideas and networks, as well as interest from investors.
The first stage, a simple online survey that allowed people to nominate as many candidates as they chose, is already complete. In the second stage, now in process, nominees will vote amongst themselves to pick the winner.
May 23 will then be the big day when the 100 of the most outstanding entrepreneurs in Western Mexico will be announced at an awards ceremony in Guadalajara.
The E|100 program got its start in 2010 in Northeastern Mexico, which organizers have defined as the States of Coahuila, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, and Tamaulipas. At that time, the award ceremony took place in Monterrey, NL, and was held alongside that city’s first Venture Capital Conference.
A third E|100 is planned for Central Mexico, though a kick-off date has yet to be announced.
The winner of E|100 Northeast was Juan Carlos Garcia, a young entrepreneur with the PlazaVIP.com. business to consumer Web site.
Garcia has been an active entrepreneur since 2007, having raised $2 million with two private equity funds (Venture Private Capital and Casmar Capital Partners). In June 2011, PlazaVIP.com was acquired by América Móvil, one of the largest corporations in Latin America. After that, the company was rebranded as Decompras.com, where it has now taken a leadership position in B2C eCommerce in Mexico.
Other organizations affiliated with the E|100 West competition are Alta Innovation Institute, which is dedicated to enabling entrepreneurship and innovation; GDL Angel Investor Network, a Guadalajara-focused club of angel investors that supports new businesses coming out of universities and incubators; and SumaValley, an group of Mexican entrepreneurs.
The competition has a Facebook page and can be followed on Twitter at @E100_Occidente