Startup founders are a perfect match for the education sector in Peru. Founders are experts at identifying problems, finding solutions, and taking on the challenge to deliver an impact.
Here are a few reasons why Peru is a great place to launch and scale a startup in the education space:
Large need coupled with a willingness to pay
Unfortunately, public education in Peru is ranked near the bottom of global rankings. In order to learn more, many Peruvians are turning to private options. Enrollment at private university has outpaced that of public universities and many education companies with traditional business models, including Intercorp (UTP) and Laureate (UPC), have dramatically increased the size of their student bodies even as they improve quality.
History of impact driven innovation
Over the last ten years, significant impact has been made by both for-profit and non-profit actors. Innova Schools has been a pioneer in K-12 private education with a model that is being now being replicated in Mexico. Enseña Peru, also in the K-12 space, has been a non-profit leader in Peru by impacting students in underserved areas as well as the professionals who have taught in the classrooms. UTEC, a new university in Peru, has quickly positioned itself as the leading engineering university, implementing forward thinking initiatives such as an early stage accelerator and open book exams.
Startups exist across the traditional spectrum of education
There are already a full array of startups in Peru from early childhood to lifelong learning that are addressing local market needs. The presence of local players is not a reason to stay a way, it is a reason to learn alongside other founders and use Peru as an education sandbox to test ideas and iterate.
Success stories and regional thought leaders
Trailblazers in Edtech are already paving the way. The largest financing round for Peruvian startup, of any kind, was raised by Crehana, an Edtech startup. Diego Olcese and his team attracted investment from both regional venture capital funds and global funds with an Edtech focus. Laboratoria is making a large impact and is Mariana Costa a thought-leader globally.
The best is yet to come
All of the ingredients exist for Lima to become a hub for innovation education in Latin America. UTEC Ventures’s recent decision to launch an EdTech program, one of the few sector-specific initiatives in Lima, will add further support and incentives for regional startup to come to Peru.
Perhaps next steps to strengthen the Edtech startup community in Lima could be to incorporate local education experts as startup advisors and build startups that offer value propositions directed at teachers and the government, not only students. There are many people in Peru with deep pedagogical expertise that could contribute a necessary perspective around quality. Including them and working with governmental education providers will help lead to systemic change.
I have no doubt that current and future startup founders will take on this challenge and be the drivers of impact, not just in the startup world but in millions of lives through education.