Have you heard about the virtual IEEE Entrepreneurship Workshop for Scientists and Engineers in Latin America?
Learn about the experience through Susana Lau, a member of the organizing team, who was instrumental in the success of the workshop.
Susana Lau – IEEE Entrepreneurship Workshops for Scientists and Engineers From Panama to Latin America
For the first time, an IEEE Entrepreneurship program was held in Panama with the goal of preparing scientists and engineers through various business-related sessions such as How to seek opportunities to solve problems in society through technical innovation and Develop a business plan, market it and be ready to seek investment. This program lasted 6 weeks starting in May 2021.
I had the great opportunity to collaborate with two Panamanians, Nélida Gómez and Carolina Rojas, both IEEE and WIE volunteers, who together with the program leaders Ken Stauffer and Surya Raghu, and the technical support of Lauren Beighley and Thomas Mónaco, managed to bring together panelists and entrepreneurs from, both the United States and Central America.
The possibility of doing this event virtually provided an opportunity to bring together participants from not only Panama, but from Ecuador, Colombia, and Mexico, among others. Likewise, it allowed us to include panelists and entrepreneurs from the United States and Latin America to make the event diverse in language (sessions in Spanish and English), culture, and skills. Having this diversity allowed us to share with other participants about the similarities and differences of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in different countries in our region and how they contrast with that of the United States. There are some similarities, but in our countries, we know that innovation is done differently.
Despite the challenge of having this workshop virtually for the first time and the challenges faced by the participants, such as time zone differences, tight agendas, and language barriers for some of them, there were four business ideas that emerged from this workshop:
- AgrloTech: combines conventional agricultural systems and new IoT technologies for complete visibility and automation.
- Singular Brew: is a proposal for a “green” fermentation enterprise that uses existing technological tools to reduce environmental impact and production costs.
- BenchtablePRO: is a portable workbench, designed for energy efficiency.
- H20 Mobile: is a water mobile car that ensures the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation.
We hope that this is just the first of many workshops to be held in Panama and that we can have continued opportunities for scientists and engineers to apply business models to their ideas.
About Susana Lau
Susana Lau is a consultant in information technology with more than ten years of experience. Founder and Director of EtyaLab, a company focused on agile software development. She is also a consultant in e-commerce and entrepreneurship.
She currently serves as president of the IEEE Panama Section (2023-2024) and volunteers at IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE). As an advocate of women in STEM and entrepreneurship, Susana has been a mentor in several educational events and supports universities as a speaker in panels and conferences.
Lau co-founded a non-profit Fundación CREEA, to execute social programs in education and entrepreneurship. She is a board member of a company in the insurance and banking industry.
Susana Lau is a Telecommunications Engineer. She holds a Master of Science degree in Information Technology from Carnegie Mellon University, USA, through a Fulbright fellowship.