ABACO – VICTORIA BLANCO

ABACO – VICTORIA BLANCO

Abaco Latam is a financial advisor that has developed a new risk scoring tool for the freelancers of the gig-economy, mainly people who work for collaborative economy platforms.
Ábaco is a social impact startup because its long-term vision is to achieve, through a deeper analysis of the client, that interest rates can be reduced and financial planning adjusted to the profile of customers can be performed which will also allow them to understand the financial system.

Founded in 2017 by Victoria Blanco Alegria , a Spanish entrepreneur who decided to leave the corporate world behind and create a start up in Colombia, Abaco. Victoria shares her story as a Euro-Latin startup.

Why is your bet on becoming an entrepreneur in LATAM?

Due to professional circumstances, I began to work on a new service line that the consulting firm I was working for at the time in Madrid wanted to create in Colombia. Thanks to that experience I got to know the country, the culture and the Colombian market first hand.
I realized that there was a business opportunity bringing to LATAM business models that already exist and were proven in Europe. It was and it is possible adapting them to the characteristics and needs of the Latin American market.
The size of the market in Latin America is very large and a solution or product piloted in Colombia is easily scalable to other countries in the region because of our cultural base and common language.
In my case, the objective is clear, to allow access to the financial system to excluded populations and for those already bancarized to generate fairer and more affordable products, with lower interest rates through a deeper profiling of the client. Due to the characteristics of the market, Latin America is the perfect place to develop it.

What are the main challenges that startups face when expanding from Europe to Latin America?

There are always hidden challenges that you are not aware or have assessed with the right approach until you settle down and work on the ground.
The cultural change, despite our common language, has been another challenge. The culture when it comes to negotiating and working is different and you have to know how to adapt to it.
The network of contacts is fundamental when it comes to entrepreneurship. Without the knowledge of the local market and the right contacts you are lost. For me, the two years I worked in consulting in Colombia have been key to do all that process of getting the right knowledge and adaptation.

Key learnings/recommendations for companies planning to grow internationally

Entrepreneurs need to be based and connected to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the region or country from the beginning and have local knowledge of the country or market. I always recommend moving in and settling there to get access to the business culture, contacts etc. and know the market first hand.
The challenge of creating your own company is enormous. There’s nothing like it that you’ve been able to do before working in the corporate world. You have to believe in yourself 100% and work, work and work!
I encourage all entrepreneurs who have a business idea to launch and take the challenge. Despite the difficulties, the return is huge!

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