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Investor, entrepreneur groups announce contest for Cuban entrepreneurs

, entrepreneur groups announce contest for Cuban entrepreneurs

The 10x10KCuba competition aims to help talented entrepreneurs in Cuba
integrate into the global startup community
Ten startups will receive $10,000 each in products and services, plus
mentorship and accelerator participation

A coalition of investor and entrepreneurship organizations announced the
formation of 10x10KCuba, a competition for Cuban entrepreneurs, on
Thursday evening during the AngelSummit Americas conference in Miami.
The new international competition is a call to innovation for the
island’s emerging technology sector, which seeks to help talented
programmers and entrepreneurs in Cuba integrate into the global startup

Entrepreneurship organizations Cuba Emprende Foundation and #CubaNow
teamed up with well-known names in tech including 500 Startups,
Techstars and Stanford as well as Startup Angels, Mano and
Cambridge Innovation Center Miami to develop this initiative. The
contest will provide the winning Cuban entrepreneurs with resources that
will help them advance their businesses and connect with international
technology leaders and financial supporters.

“We said we can’t yet invest in these guys, but what can we do to help?
That’s when we came up with 10x10KCuba,” said Leslie Jump, founder and
CEO of Startup Angels. “We hope it will the first of many opportunities
for people from the United States, Latin America and Cuba to come
together to accelerate startups across Cuba.

Participating entrepreneurs will be judged by startup and
leaders from around the Americas with 10 tech-enabled companies will be
selected. Each winner will receive a $10,000 prize package, including of
web services, laptops and servers from Dell, EMC and Rackspace,
mentoring from NXTP Labs as well opportunities with a leading
accelerator programs in the US and Latin America.  Applications will
open May 15, with applications due on July 15. Winners will be announced
in the fall. More information:

“We are proud to be a co-organizer of 10x10KCuba,” said John McIntire of
Cuba Emprende. “During our four years of operations in Cuba, we have
graduated over 2,000 entrepreneurs and helped more than 1,500 businesses
launch or accelerate. Tech-enabled startups are well represented among
our alumni, and it’s exciting for us to help that dynamic sector reach
scale and sustainability.”

Before the announcement, a panel discussed the present realities and
future potential for Cuban founders and investors. McIntire moderated a
talk with two tech entrepreneurs in Cuba, Sergio Lazaro of Ingenius and
Eliecer Cabrera of ConoceCuba, as well as Ubaldo Don of Miami-based Itopia.

Cuba is not only well endowed with scientists but also developers. “Our
best guess is that 3,000 to 4 000 computer scientists graduate every
year in Cuba,” said McIntire, but not all stay in the field. Cloud
software company Itopia has assembled a small development team in Cuba,
said Don, who was born in Cuba and moved to the U.S about 20 years ago.
Challenges included setting up servers there to virtualize the
environment, amid the unreliability of wifi, he said. The Cuban
entrepreneurs listed access to wifi and access to capital as big
challenges. “Entrepreneurs in Cuba are fighting incredible odds to start
a business, support their families, build communities – they are real
heroes,” McIntire added.

The infrastructure is not in place yet for investment, but the
opportunity is great. About 78 percent of small businesses in Cuba today
are funded with remittances. Bank lending is increasing, but from a tiny
base, McIntire said

AngelSummit Americas, a conference that gathers investors, entrepreneurs
and community leaders to discuss angel funding challenges and
opportunities, continues Friday at Intercontinental Miami, with keynotes
from TechStars and 500 Startups and breakout sessions on investing
across the Spanish speaking world, corporate startup engagement,
government engagement and other topics.

Source: Investor, entrepreneur groups announce contest for Cuban
entrepreneurs | Miami Herald –

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