Nearly 3,500 entrepreneurial projects in Peru have received a total of S / 978 million (US$296m) since the Innóvate Peru investment program began 12 years ago.
At an Innóvate Peru ceremony, celebrating its achievements so far, executive coordinator of Innóvate Peru, Rosmary Cornejo said this investment has allowed start-ups to enjoy sustained growth and have a competitive entry into new markets.
“It is important to note that 50% of innovation projects come from within the country, and among these are the sectors most committed to innovation in products, processes, or services: IT, biotechnology, agriculture, metalworking, leather and textiles, environmental and aquaculture, among others,” she said.
One of the beneficiaries was Forticao, a Peruvian start-up that produces cocoa-based products fortified with heme iron (a type of iron found
only in meat, poultry, seafood, and fish) to prevent anemia.
“[Our] objective is to contribute to the development of our country through research and innovation applied to nutritional education and food production,” it says.
To bring the product to market, Forticao received financial backing from Innovate Peru and USAID as well as technical assistance from the Peruvian University Cayetano Heredia-UPCH.
Its range, sold in pharmacies nationwide, contains a fortified chocolate bar and chocolate powder to make chocolate-flavored milk. A range of supplements is currently being developed.
‘The Spirit of the Andes’
Fourteen Inkas, which makes artisanal vodka distilled from sustainably sourced local ingredients, also got a kickstart from Innovate Peru.
Peru has over 4,000 varieties of potato but the five entrepreneurs behind 14 Inkas noticed there was no Peruvian vodka making use of this native ingredient.
The native potatoes give the vodka soft flavor profile with sweet notes while the company’s on-pack branding reflects tocapu, ancient Incan geometric designs.
“The small community members of the high Andean areas supply us with an ecological product of high quality, grown according to the [tradition] of each community,” the start-up says. “We are committed to paying a fair price for the effort to maintain this ancestral tradition and conserve our biodiversity.”
Gustavo Crespi, representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), said: “As important as the number of projects we have supported is the learning process between both Innóvate Peru and the IDB.
"Innovation policies [...] are different from those we know; in the case of innovation, they have to deal with uncertainty and permanent technological progress," he added.