Gabriel was always clear that he wanted to do something that would benefit others. The idea of GETMIPULPA was born when his wife, after giving birth to her first child, had a bad time due to anemia. She needed a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and they wanted to stock their home without having to go to the supermarket or having their weekly grocery shopping spoiled by overbuying. Through a web subscription system, users select a plan of milkshakes, and they receive at home the box with the purchase and recipe to prepare the chosen milkshakes on a weekly basis.

Gabriel Sarmiento, co-founder, shares his experience as a Colombian startup that takes the step to Europe starting with the French market.

Why GETMIPULPA  on the European market?

We always had clear that the Colombian market was the first step to later make a commitment to grow internationally. The Colombian entrepreneurial ecosystem has evolved a lot, but it still has many areas for improvement and that is why it is important to look for opportunities abroad.

Fortunately, I am part of a French support program for entrepreneurs, Station F, which is helping me make that leap from Latin America to Europe. Thanks to this program we have access to a mature and highly developed entrepreneurial ecosystem like the French one. We are part of a wonderful campus full of entrepreneurs like us, with an environment that facilitates the startups learn, grow and above all we enrich each other sharing our day to day.

The French market we are about to enter has a magnitude and enormous potential for a business like ours based on healthy, quality food and the intelligent purchase of what you need on a weekly basis.

What are the main challenges faced by startups when they expand into Europe from Latin America?

One of the challenges for entrepreneurs is to “get out of the bubble of your entrepreneurship challenge” and thanks to this program we are achieving it because we share experiences and knowledge with the more than 1,000 entrepreneurs who share campus with us.

Another common challenge, as every entrepreneur knows, is the search for financing and access to capital.

Raising money in the Colombian market is totally different with doing it in the French market because they are very different ecosystems, as I mentioned earlier. One lesson learned is the need to go abroad when you can’t find it in your country or there are few funds operating because it’s a small market.  That challenge becomes an opportunity, because going global opens your eyes, forces you to excel and makes you aware that you have the talent for it. In Colombia there is a lot of talent, but it’s still a local market and the world is too big to stay just there locally.

Language is another challenge, but fortunately in my case thanks to my knowledge of French and to the fact that English is the language used by all entrepreneurs on campus there has been no problem.

Key learnings/recommendations for companies planning to grow internationally

Thanks to my current experience and my time on the Station F campus, I would say that help and support among entrepreneurs is key. The culture of collaboration, respect and trust in which we move has helped me grow and gain confidence in us.

Networks of contacts are fundamental, the entrepreneur has to go out, make himself  a well-known player, forget the isolation in which many live and be part of a community. There is a special energy that is generated when you collaborate with others and soak up that environment. You help and others help you and that is priceless – entrepreneurial values are key to success!

The programs of support to the entrepreneur help with all the bureaucratic procedures and work visas, in our case thanks to them we have obtained the visa for entrepreneurs for 4 years and  that means an enormous advantage.

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