Uruguay seeks foreign companies to set up in the country

The Proyecta Uruguay acceleration program, coordinated by ANII, convenes foreign ventures with the potential to scale globally.
Publication date: 14/05/2021

Uruguay's National Agency for Research and Innovation (ANII) is reissuing the Proyecta Uruguay acceleration program, which seeks to attract foreign innovative ventures with the potential to grow and scale globally.

Selected companies will receive workshops and will be eligible for up to US$70,000 in nonrefundable support. For this, they must be established in Uruguay, generate quality employment, as well as export or sales in the domestic market. Entrepreneurs can apply until July 6 atproyectauruguay.uy.

This is the second edition of the program, which mainly targets entrepreneurs from the region, although they can apply from anywhere in the world. The main requirement is that they must be innovative in terms of product offerings or business processes already existing in Uruguay.

The program consists of two phases. The selected companies must participate in a pre-acceleration phase, which includes online workshops with relevant information for setting up the company in Uruguay. This phase ends with an elevator pitch presentation to an evaluation committee and investors (local and regional investors linked to ANII).

The companies selected for the second stage will receive nonreimbursable financing of up to US$70,000 (in the form of nonreimbursable support), corresponding to 70% of the project's eligible cost (the companies must contribute at least the remaining 30%).

Those who reach this acceleration phase must set up the company in Uruguay, but it is not a requirement that the same entrepreneur who applied for the program move to the country; for example, they may hire a local country manager. The requirement is that the company must have at least one collaborator working in the country at the beginning.

Companies must have at least one year of turnover and have the objective of developing operations in Uruguay or commercial exploration of the Uruguayan market. Entrepreneurs can apply until July 6 at proyectauruguay.uy.

This initiative joins others that the Uruguayan government is promoting to attract foreign investment, but this time with a focus on innovation. In this line, Uruguay presents to foreign entrepreneurs the advantages, facilities, and certainties for the installation of foreign companies: its financial stability and freedom, legal security, a full democracy (in first place in Latin America) with institutions that operate with transparency, social stability, a strong educational system that has trained first-class human resources, among others.

In the first edition of Proyecta Uruguay (2019), 24 ventures from the region participated and 12 successfully passed through the pre-acceleration stage, attracting the interest of local and regional investors. These ventures invested more than US$100,000 (in 2020) in hiring personnel and professional services in the country.

ANII provided financial support to these companies to enable them to continue their activities in the country and to make the private investment a reality. The result was successful: six of these ventures obtained private investment, with rounds of between US$25,000 and US$2,000,000, which were complemented by ANII with subsidies of up to US$40,000 (and other projects continue to negotiate with private investors).