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Gianni Romaní and Miguel Atienza

The chapter discusses the emergent business angel markets in Latin America – comprising a heterogeneous group of countries, the largest of which are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. These countries are increasingly aware of the importance of entrepreneurship as engines of economic development. Most Latin American governments are fostering a series of policies to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, including the creation of business angel networks (BANs). At the same time, wealthy individuals are starting to invest in entrepreneurial ventures. However, the authors show that the business angel markets in Latin America are still incipient, and its development is influenced by the experience of successful companies in the United States such as Amazon and Google, which were initially funded by business angel investors. In some Latin American countries, the progress of the business angel market has had significant support from public policies and multilateral organizations. Changes in the institutional frameworks during the last decade have contributed to greater political and economic stability. Nevertheless, the region has not yet a critical mass of business angels. There are several remaining obstacles for the progress of the business angel markets. For example, cultural issues, such as a lack of trust, make the relationship between entrepreneurs and business angels insecure. A lack of long-term vision and a risk aversion among Latin American investors and institutional obstacles such as a lack of clarity in defining the rules of the game represent further barriers.