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San Andrés & Providencia

The Startup Archipielago



S4S engaged in a study, funded by the UK FCO Prosperity Fund to develop an entrepreneurship plan to drive economic growth in San Andrés and Providencia. Stage 1 was to map the local support ecosystem for creative and cultural entrepreneurs; including all private and state owned actors, their relationships, their skills, the strengths and their weaknesses. This included a public solicitation for inputs from local groups emphasizing the indigenous Raisal population.



In stage 2 S4S developed a comprehensive plan to move the islands from a mass tourism model that hurt local entrepreneurs, ignored local culture and which adversely impacted the environment. And which moved the islands to a high-quality tourism model that supported local businesses, respected the biosphere, and delivered sustainability while helping new creative startups who leveraged local music and gastronomy.



In Stage 3 S4S piloted a local accelerator for creative entrepreneurs with a focus on sports, gastronomy, and music.

S4S drove demand side with two tourism initiatives focussed on the upscale niche tourist: in San Andes promoting kite surfing & scuba diving leveraging the island’s reefs and winds, and in Providencia showcasing the traditional boat races for the nautical tourists, while helping revive a local tradition.

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“We worked as the local partner for S4S. We were impressed with their dedication to collecting accurate data and executing analyses that had a strong empirical basis. It was a pleasure to work with their team"

Maria Andrea Saleme

Economista - Universidad Externado de Colombia