What do you picture when you hear the word “entrepreneur”? What kind of image do you see in your mind?
I see a person who solves problems for others. And when you live in a country where nothing works like it’s supposed to, there are plenty of problems to be solved.
These problems can be really basic and unimportant… like having a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast even though 99% of stores don’t sell it.
Importing candy and other non-essential items is one business model that’s booming here in Venezuela. Because every once in a while you want to treat yourself, and (my guess is that) foreign, “exotic” treats will always be more attractive.
Then there are other more important problems… and solutions that can truly be the difference between life or death.
Venezuela is overrun with violence. Caracas is the most dangerous city in the world (or was last time I checked). So if your car breaks down in the middle of the street, you won’t be feeling very safe…
This has happened to me and my family more times than I can count. You feel desperate, to say the least.
…and they’ll be there with you until the problem is fixed.
I think this is genius. After all, who wouldn’t want to pay for an app that makes you feel safe in a life-threatening situation?
Venezuela is a gold mine for entrepreneurs because of all the problems we are currently facing. But, that doesn’t mean everything is exactly roses…
You have to be aware of the fact that most Venezuelans are on survival mode… their money is reserved for basic items like food and rent.
(Add hyper-inflation to this and you realize your “market” grows smaller by the minute).
Most startups are purely digital because the cost of things like setting up a business or renting an office is not worth it.
This could be a good thing, but unless you are targeting millennials, you’ll have a hard time getting people to buy from you online.
But despite the disadvantages, I believe there’s plenty of opportunities here. And I truly believe entrepreneurs will solve this country’s problems one at a time.
What do you think?
Are there any problems in your community you think you could fix?
Let me know in the comments section below.
Omar Cagua is a direct response marketing consultant and copywriter who’s worked with startups and 8-figure companies alike. The 20+ years he lived in Venezuela make him a defender of the free market.