The Talent and Innovation Competition of the Americas (TIC Americas) took place this past April 9 and 10 in Panama City during the VII Summit of the Americas. The TIC Americas is an international business accelerator developed by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) and the Organization of American States (OAS). The final objective is to support and promote young entrepreneurs who have started innovative projects that tackle poverty and improve social living conditions in the hemisphere.
The tenth edition of the TIC Americas was carried out at the Young Americas Forum, where prominent young people discussed and presented solutions to social, economic and political problems within the region. The main theme in this occasion was “Prosperity with Equity: The Youth Perspective”.
The competition is composed of four categories that have been developed around the main subjects of the VII Summit: Economic Innovation, Social Innovation, Cultural Entrepreneurship of the Americas and the Eco-Challenge. Teachlr, an eLearning Venezuelan startup, was selected to compete in the Economic Innovation category among 2374 teams from all the region.
Never a Venezuelan initiative had become a finalist in the ten previous editions of the TIC Americas, in which around fourteen thousand projects had been evaluated. “Participating in the TIC Americas as one of the finalists has been an enriching experience. As soon as we arrived to Panama, we noticed that there were great expectations of Teachlr, which motivated us to win even more”, explain Jean Moisés Annicchiarico and Rubén Benarroch, founders and directors of the startup.
Since the beginning of the event, Ruben and Moises noticed that education particularly appealed to judges, investors and other participants, due to its key role in alleviating social inequality. Teachlr managed to stand out, because it tackled education, as well as innovation and technology, “three fields that combined contribute to the social development of our peoples”, mentions Ruben.
The evaluation to determine the winner consisted of a 50 minute session with the judges, who were impressed by the scope accomplished by Teachlr with scarce funds. “Once we finished our presentation, we were confident that we had made Venezuela and our team at Teachlr proud”, recounts Moises.
During the final awards ceremony, this confidence was mixed with a lot of enthusiasm and some nerves. Finally the announcement had come: “We heard our name and felt so ecstatic to receive this recognition from such outstanding experts. We also remembered our families, friends, mentors, our team and everyone who has helped and supported us”. Teachlr got the best qualification among the thirty finalists in the four categories.
What we learned at the VII Summit
“What impressed us the most was the incredible networking we did. We had the great opportunity to present our work to president Varela, president Solís and the vice president of the World Bank, Jorge Familiar. In these conversations we explained how our elearning platform is able to provide governments the valuable capability to expand the reach of education in every corner of Latin America. We believe that technology can offer the tools to alleviate social inequality”, Ruben explains.
The TIC Americas was originally motivated by the lack of dynamic and innovative entrepreneurship projects in the region. At the Forum and during the competition, Ruben and Moises spent time with other young entrepreneurs and could see that in fact there is talent, good ideas and a lot of will to change things in Latin America.
“We met really interesting people from all over the continent. We exchanged ideas, discussed proposals and could learn about social and political realities in other countries. We have similar problems and share the passion to work towards solving our issues”.