Colombia-based venture capital studio Latin Leap and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) have launched the first market entry program to help tech startups in Singapore to have greater access to business and partnership opportunities in Latin America.

Both parties said in a statement, the Leap2LatAm programme aims to connect tech startups in Singapore with potential customers, multipliers, and joint venture partners in Latin America to foster business relations with the region and help firms set up and grow in the market.

The 20-week programme, which will commence in January 2022, comprises three tracks:
a. Explore – Assess product-market fit; b. Meet – Meet potential customers and partners; c. Leap – Enter the market, hire, and operate.

According to the statement, participating firms will attend networking sessions and introductory meetings with potential partners in the Latin American market, gain access to market reports and receive tailored consultancy services.

With a population of 657 million and a $10.5 trillion economy, both parties said, Latin America presents itself as a region with numerous growth opportunities and potential.

Growing mobile penetration, accelerated digitalisation due to COVID and a rapidly developing innovation ecosystem in the region have also resulted in increased tech and innovation opportunities for overseas companies in areas such as AI, fintech, sustainability, agritech and trustech.

Multi-national companies headquartered in Latin America are also launching more innovation programmes and are open to work with international startups to seek new solutions.

“We see ample opportunities for Singapore companies to collaborate with in-market corporates and partners in sectors such as health, mobility, agrifood and more, given the fit between the solutions required in Latin American and those developed by Singapore companies,” said Francisco Rios, Regional Group Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at ESG.

“The Pacific Alliance-Singapore Free Trade Agreement will also enable greater access, trade flows and opportunities between Singapore and Latin America. For enterprises in Latin America looking to expand their footprint in Southeast Asia, Singapore is well placed to support their internationalization efforts as well,” he added.

It is also noted that negotiations have concluded between Singapore and the Pacific Alliance1 on the Pacific Alliance-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (PASFTA), with the formal signing expected to take place early next year. The Pacific Alliance is the 8th largest economy worldwide.

“As the attractiveness of the Pacific Alliance as an economic region keeps increasing, we are excited to offer a robust program for Singapore businesses to soft-land into the region,” said Stefan Krautwald, Managing Director of Latin Leap.

“Our partnership with Enterprise Singapore coupled with our experience in tech entrepreneurship in Latin America permits us to understand the needs and priorities for an efficient deployment in Latin America of cutting-edge tech solutions from Southeast Asia. We expect positive impacts on local economies through this connection,” he added.

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