Infiltrating a foreign market as a tech startup can be pretty daunting for even the most experienced entrepreneurs. You have to learn an entirely new ecosystem and adapt to cultural intricacies that may not exist in your home country. But you know that saying “nothing worth having comes easy?” Well, it couldn’t be more relevant than in the case of bringing the best startups from Latin America to Canada.
Enter Miryam Lazarte, the founder and CEO of LatAm Startups.
Miryam is serial entrepreneur and graphic designer that has long held a passion for strengthening economic relations between Canada and Latin America. She decided to start LatAm Startups, a non-profit organization that offers programs for international startups, after recognizing that a lot of Latin American startups had difficulty finding their footing in Toronto and beyond.
Miryam saw great potential in Toronto as an entryway for tech startups from Latin America to eventually scale globally. Toronto is a multicultural hub that is right at the center of everything. It’s close to business hubs like New York, Chicago, and Washington, which are important to access when it comes to commercialized products and services.
On top of that, Toronto is the second largest tech corridor in the world!
Being from Latin America herself, Miryam knew she could use her knowledge of those countries, her love of Toronto, and her extensive experience as an international business professional to help fellow entrepreneurs. Thus, LatAm Startups was born!
Since starting the business, Miryam has found that her first profession as a graphic designer has come in handy for the clients she works with. Miryam explains, “I’m actually very glad I took that career first (re: graphic design) because even though most of the startups that we have already have companies in their own countries, when they come here they become startups again.
When a company is new, they need a lot of advertising and marketing and I have the marketing and design perspective. I can include good graphics in their marketing efforts and help them better understand how to advertise in North America versus Latin America.”
Miryam has also picked up some tips and tricks during her time as CEO of LatAm Startups.
Her best advice for entrepreneurs is, “to listen and take everything step by step.” She has found that they tend to get very excited about the ecosystem when they come to Toronto, but that it’s always best “to wait, connect, see, and speak with people before doing anything.”
As for the most rewarding part of her job, Miryam says, “it is the change in their minds and businesses. The alumni change so much that they want to help the new people that are coming. That for us is a huge reward. We are creating this community that is helping each other.”
To learn more about LatAm Startups and find out what they’re doing next, visit their website. She is currently preparing for the sixth edition of the LatAm Startups Conference which will be taking place on May 16th and 17th. This conference brings together hundreds of people from Canadian, American and Latin American tech communities for a weekend of panels, presentations and networking.
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