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Press Releases

The LAVCA/YABT Global Dialogue on the Role of Venture Capital in Latin America

4 November 2002

November 4, 2002, Washington D.C. — The Latin American Venture Capital Association (LAVCA) has held its first global dialogue on the role of venture capital (VC) in Latin America. The dialogue was co-hosted by the OAS Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) and drew a diverse crowd of VC professionals, young entrepreneurs, and representatives of supporting programs from throughout the Americas and Europe.

The videoconference, which was conducted through the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) of the World Bank, featured participants from Spain, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Nicaragua, Mexico, and the United States. The conference was moderated from a GLDN center in Washington, D.C., by a panel consisting of LAVCA executive director Christina Kappaz, LAVCA Board Chair Everett Santos, Susana Garcia-Robles of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and Roy Thomasson, Director of the YABT.

As a joint event between LAVCA and the YABT, the conference was intended to contribute to the development of an industry rapport between investors, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. Participants and audience members of the conference reflected this mix of perspectives.

From Spain, Brazil and Chile, we were joined by managers of such key venture investment funds as Ventana Chile, Moneda Asset Management, Inverlink, Latin Tech Capital, Axxon Group, Baring Private España, and GED Capital Development. Also joining the conference were representatives of FINEP, the governmental agency actively supporting VC in Brazil, and national venture capital associations from Spain and Brazil.

From Nicaragua, Peru, and Mexico, we were joined by representatives from a range of innovative programs working with youth and young entrepreneurs. In Nicaragua, the Secretariat for Youth Development sponsored the event locally.

Those participating from the position of young entrepreneurs noted the need for a wider dissemination of the concept of venture capital, including a clarification of those business types and development problems that VC can best address.

A key issue raised by investors was the importance of the potential role of an industry association in policy work and in supporting advocacy efforts to foster an appropriate legal and regulatory environment. Other key issues discussed included the need for information and data on the industry in the region, the need for qualified fund managers, the need for educating entrepreneurs and other members of society at large about the VC process, and the benefits that networking at a regional level could provide in terms of access to deal flow and exits.

LAVCA is beginning to address many of these industry concerns. It isbuilding an advisory board of government officials (including to date MIF, FINEP, and the Mexican development bank, NAFIN) to provide a suitable forum for dialogue between investors and policymakers. LAVCA is also organizing a seminar and annual meeting in March 2003, to coincide with the annual meeting of the IDB, in order to provide an opportunity for investors to network with government officials as well as each other, and to facilitate the exchange of ideas surrounding the key challenges they face on issues such as regulation.