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Mayan innovation in the 21st century: creating a bridge between talent and opportunities

Actualizado: 14 ago 2020

Integral Strategy for the Promotion of Innovative Entrepreneurship for Decentralized Technological Institutes led by HEC y TecNM Felipe Carrillo Puerto Campus.

1. Mayan education, entrepreneurship, and innovation in the 21st century.

Do you think is it easy to stand out as an educational institution in a higher-level national education system, consisting of 254 institutes and more than 600 thousand students? Do you consider is it feasible to do it when you are in a small municipality of approximately 100 thousand inhabitants, with almost 70% of the Mayan indigenous population? How about standing out nationally when you are not located near a large city or have great infrastructure or technology, you are surrounded by rainforest and you are a small Technology Institute, with an enrollment of just over 1100 students?

How about doing it all under these conditions in a consistent, systematic way?

It would seem impossible, or at least a very difficult endeavor to achieve. Right?

However, the TecNM Felipe Carrillo Puerto campus, located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, makes it possible: from a total of nine “National Student Technological Innovation Events” (ENEIT) of the National Technological Institute of Mexico (TecNM), which is the largest higher level education system in Latin America, Carrillo Puerto is a three-time recipient for the "Mitekua Innovation Award", which recognizes the Institute with better overall results in the event. The ENEIT is the most important event of TecNM, where the 254 technology institutes participate, including federal institutes with an enrollment of more than 5,000 students, state concentrated institutes such as Jalisco and Research Centers; some are located in the main cities of the country, with greater infrastructure, access to technology and more favorable opportunities.

The Carrillo Puerto Campus does something special; is Education, Entrepreneurship and Mayan Innovation in the 21st century: imagine a culture week with public speaking competitions in Spanish, English, and Maya; imagine advice between pairs on calculus, but in Maya; or you may wonder, how is it that young people studying there have to express themselves in a language that is not their native language?

The Carrillo Puerto Campus is a place where traditions and ancestral culture merge with an environment that fosters entrepreneurship and technological innovation; space where the dreams of many young people who come from communities that live in real social marginalization have an opportunity to be developed.

The campus represents the opportunity of a lifetime for its students to transcend professionally and the opportunity to achieve social mobility. The talent, ideas, and projects that it generates require a more adequate bridge that connects them with the ideal opportunities, in such a way that academic success turns into innovative ventures, making a positive impact on society and the environment.

The awards are important, but it is even more important to facilitate genuine social mobility, so students can realize their ideas and projects.

2. A chasm between talent and ideas in the early stages, and opportunities.

According to information from the National Association of Universities and Superior Academic Institutes (ANUIES), the Public Education Secretariat (SEP) and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), and our experience in the national entrepreneurial ecosystem, we estimate that in Mexico 95% of university students do not study in those universities and superior academic institutes where there are relevant programs, contacts, and economic resources; those who can make your idea or project a reality. On the other hand, entrepreneurship and technological innovation promotion programs by local or federal governments are minimal or nonexistent (1).

The best opportunities are out of reach for a vast majority: geographically, by contacts, for being One-Shot (knocking on the door, again and again, restarting an information validation process without a record), by timing, or by economic and personal circumstances. This generates that ideas or projects that are not necessarily the best are the ones that get support and are recognized because they knew how to sell their idea or make good public relations. They are capable of achieving investment, even if the technology or the prototype does not work as expected. More and more cases arise similar to that of Theranos, although on a smaller scale. Meanwhile, talent, ideas, and projects that do have greater potential remain stagnant.

Studies have already shown that social mobility is more a myth than a reality in Latin America (2).

Investment entities such as VCs and networks of Angels Investors in Latin America expect that you are a successful growing startup, with potential being validated by actual success. They invest in those who they already know or have a recommendation; not necessarily in the talent, technology, or startups with greater potential. Their methods are more traditional than innovative; that is, they evaluate you like a traditional business, but with much greater growth potential, due to outstanding present financial results and future scalability.

Do you think that Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos or Steve Jobs could have received investment or support here in Mexico or Latin America?

It would not be very likely, especially because the most creative technological developments and ideas arise from very early stages: before being commercial products, before having a fully defined business model, and long before being a resounding success, demonstrated by sales and profitability.

On the other hand, racism, classism, and discrimination of all kinds are still present in our society, making the best opportunities accessible only to a very few (3).

3. The need to create a bridge between talent and ideas in the early stages, and suitable opportunities.

To better understand "The path of the entrepreneur" (4) and the process required to achieve social mobility, there is no better way than to know by experience the entire process, to live it through, with the conditions and circumstances of the cultural, social, economic, political, access to infrastructure and technology that prevails in Mexico and Latin American countries.

It is very easy to believe and affirm that “there are many opportunities” when you are part of the small percentage of the population that has access to them, when you are in the social circle that has contacts and capital when your family and social reality drives you to be and to do much more than to survive, or when you are not the main character in the path of the entrepreneur.

The challenge is then even greater: if your venture is in early stages, without having the conditions in your favor (contacts, capital, infrastructure, technology, know-how, family and social environment), and you want someone to invest in your project (which is rather an idea that requires a prototype built, tested, improved, and also have been launched with commercial success)... how do you think you will you go from having built your prototype, to have a properly validated product in the market and with proven commercial success, such that it is in the interest of those who only understand about successful growing startups?

EmprendHEC (Company) is a Mexican EdTech Startup founded in December of 2018. Its founders emerged from scratch and continue to live the path of the entrepreneur, understands the reality of innovative entrepreneurs, and the need to create that bridge that connects talent and ideas in early stages with the right opportunities to help them take the next step. Its main founder is originally from a small municipality in the state of Guanajuato, and in 2004 together with his wife were the first incubated entrepreneurs in Guanajuato. They started offering certain services aimed at business productivity, and since 2008 they focused on designing and implementing educational content, tools, and training methodologies for entrepreneurs, with a focus on technological innovation. They became important allies for their home state, and as of 2014 for the federal government, also collaborating with the largest and most important educational systems in Mexico. They created their own online educational platform EmprendHEC (Platform) in 2016.

After continuing the study and understanding of the innovative entrepreneur and his environment for more than 15 years, their current approach is to integrate all their knowledge, experience, tools, contacts and technology to help early talent and ideas to be able to take the next step while acquiring key attitudes, skills, and competencies. Also, to build the link with the right opportunities so their ideas and projects become more and better success stories, from a sustainable perspective.

4. Integral Strategy for the Promotion of Innovative Entrepreneurship for Decentralized Technological Institutes led by HEC and TecNM Felipe Carrillo Puerto Campus.

ENEIT 2019 served as an important and unexpected catalyst, due to the convergence of circumstances that allowed identifying a great opportunity: For the first time, a decentralized technology institute hosted the event, the Fresnillo Higher Technology Institute, led by its Director-General, MSc. Mario Arturo Dévora Méndez. Carrillo Puerto, which is also decentralized, received the Mitekua Award for the second consecutive time and third overall, led by its General Director, MSc. Diego Ramón Briceño Domínguez; both in the presidium and during the event, the Director of Decentralized Technological Institutes of TecNM, MSc. Manuel Chávez Sáenz was an active participant; In addition, an interesting and proactive group of external jurors was reinforced, among which, as from 2012, was the Director ("Anti-CEO") and Founder of EmprendHEC, Ing. Paulo César Ramírez Silva.

Since 2011, he has collaborated with TecNM, and since 2012 as an external jury of the ENEIT. In its record of projects carried out, the best experiences have been with Decentralized Institutes.

Also, he had already collaborated with Carrillo Puerto in 2014, with a training program for its students, through the support of the National Institute of the Entrepreneur.

The timing was perfect: Paulo César proposed the creation of a "Cooperation Agreement for Integral Strategy to Promote Innovative Entrepreneurship for Decentralized Technological Institutes", which has as its ultimate purpose the creation of the bridge that connects talent and ideas in the early stages with the most suitable opportunities to make the next step, and as particular objectives are the following:

1. Professional training and certification program for students (for all enrollment). Online, considering the following contents, each consisting of 40 hours of professional training with a focus on innovative entrepreneurship and leadership (studying two per year):

  • Step by step: turn your idea into a Winning Product.

  • Be the entrepreneur for your own life: Decide NOW!

  • Create and Innovate, to differentiate yourself and win!

  • Alignment and synchrony: key aspects of entrepreneurial success.

2. Training for teachers, administrators, and managers (for all). Online and some activities in person.

  • The previous online courses, plus technical and specialized topics in entrepreneurship, technological innovation, and integral leadership.

3. Provide an option to perform professional internships for students.

4. Generate strategic linkage and research projects for teachers.

5. Implement a comprehensive strategy to promote innovative entrepreneurship.

6. Build and implement a marketing and positioning campaign.

The program is flexible and independent of academic calendars, provides additional benefits such as having an ally for strategic linkage who is agile, tailored and always available; a linkage strategy with tutors for talent and ideas with high potential, the providing of Speakers (6) in different areas of expertise for special events and follow up of the agreement. The program is customized for each institute, based on a framework and methodology, since EmprendHEC knows perfectly well that generic recipes do not work.

For the success of the agreement, EmprendHEC provides its platform available for all, tools, experience, contacts, and know-how at cost-base, where each institute covers only 50% of the elementary operating costs. EmprendHEC is committed to getting the other 50% with different instances. This agreement helps, regardless of the final purpose for which it was created, for the Technological Institutes to make better use of their limited budget, since the benefits it provides lowers the cost of obtaining them through other strategies, and covers the activities that are already a part of their annual performance indicators.

The agreement is designed for those leading and visionary institutes and management team, that seek to transcend and go beyond current academic success, with a medium and long-term vision. Therefore, M. Manuel Chávez, General Director of Decentralized Institutes invited the first candidates, to whom this agreement was presented in December 2019.

M. Diego Briceño, director of Tec de Carrillo Puerto was the first to confirm his participation, having everything ready to begin since early January 2020.

For any person, institution or instance that firmly believes that it does not have the best conditions and circumstances to highlight, lead, and transcend, in southeastern Mexico, in the Mayan area of Quintana Roo they have a message for them: Yes, you can! and it is time to build the future as an inclusive academic, student, and entrepreneurial community, with a national and global vision.

This is Mayan innovation in the 21st century: creating a bridge between talent, ideas and the most suitable opportunities.

5. Would you like to be part of this initiative?

This agreement establishes an innovative mechanism for collaboration between the Private Initiative and the Academy, without requiring government support, with the purpose of facilitating social mobility with a productive and sustainable approach. It is not for anyone; the quota is limited and there are restrictions to participate. It is independent of the academic calendar, so each month a new agreement can be started, even with the pandemic!

When opportunities arise, people generally act in 4 ways: 1. They decide to participate, 2. Wait a bit to see what happens, 3. Stay observing what others do, or 4. Nothing is done.

Now, if you are an Impact Investor, if you belong to a company with a Social Responsibility Program related to this, to an NGO or Foundation interested in supporting related projects; if you are a philanthropist, or if you are simply someone who already understood that all the material success and accumulated money cannot be taken beyond this life and want to know about very attractive options to transcend, contact us!

We do not only want to invite you as a sponsor of one of the technology institutes but also to meet them: both they and the final beneficiaries (students, teachers), and why not? if you dare, we will invite you to be a mentor to an innovative entrepreneur with great potential.

We invite you to take action!

Do you want more information? Contact us at!


1. “Una comunidad virtual de emprendedores hispanohablantes”, Revista Digital Bilateral Magazine, 2019:

2. “El mito de la movilidad social”, BBC Mundo, 2019:

3. “Clasismo y racismo, sinsentido de la democracia”, Consejo Nacional para Prevenir la Discriminación (CONAPRED):

4. “La ruta del emprendedor”, HEC, 2005:

5. HEC es el nombre comercial de EmprendHEC Educación en Innovación y Desarrollo Tecnológico, SAPI de CV. Sitio web:, Plataforma EmprendHEC:

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