Tech Entrepreneurs from Cuba Awarded Training Programs in U.S.

A group of 10 Cuban entrepreneurs will receive business training and $10,000 worth of products and services from the Cuba Emprende Foundation and #CubaNow as winners of the international 10x10KCuba competition. The two organizations teamed up with a group of startup accelerators to provide programming and support services to the entrepreneurs. 

Cuba has a surplus of skilled IT professionals and high demand for technological development. As a result, Cuban tech startups have been popping up across the island, but limited resources in Cuba often present unique challenges. Now, several entrepreneurs have the chance to jumpstart their businesses with training from U.S. startups and take their knowledge back home.

Some of the winners, including the startup professional network NinjaCuba, are working in Stanford’s engineering labs and product innovation centers. They’ve had the opportunity to visit some of Silicon Valley’s most successful startups, such as Airbnb. 

Others are based in Boulder for a two-week program on finance, digital marketing, and product design. Their three companies specialize in app development, providing services like restaurant reviews (Alamesa), news about cultural events (Ke Hay Pa'Hoy), and a product marketplace like Amazon (Cubazon).

Cuban entrepreneurs meet with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Cuban entrepreneurs meet with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

The training programs will not only help these entrepreneurs expand their own businesses; they will hopefully create a domino effect in the Cuba's private sector as startups begin to share best practices with one another. The exchange is also a two-way street: budding American entrepreneurs have much to learn from the Cubans, who have been motivated to develop creative techniques with fewer resources available.

NBC Bay Area: “They say necessity is the mother of invention and nowhere is that more true than in Cuba, where tech startups are popping up across the island nation despite very low internet connectivity. That intrepidness is on display with the visit of some young high-tech entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley.” 

Fox News Denver: “You see people creating motorcycles by retrofitting a bicycle with a washing machine motor and you’re seeing sort of the same ingenuity in the software they are developing."

Daily Camera: "To see the young business people on the ground after years of envisioning the occurrence is gratifying. 'It's like a veil has been pulled back from their eyes,' McIntire said."

CBS Denver: “Juan Luis Santana has invented a Yelp-like app to promote tourism. He says young people are the future of Cuba, and he treasures the opportunity to learn here. 'This is a good country. You have a lot of things to show the world. This is a good opportunity for us to see that and we are so grateful,' he told Mustin."