“Argentines have a tendency to gravitate towards entrepreneurship,” explains Alexis Caporale when asked about the current state of entrepreneurship in Argentina. “That’s because you never know what’s going to happen in Argentina. You could get laid off tomorrow. And being an entrepreneur means you’re partially in control of your employment.”
As a co-founder and professor at Buenos Aires University’s entrepreneurship course, EmprendING, and a two-time digital entrepreneur, Alexis knows a thing or two about Argentine entrepreneurship.
His first start-up was an online artisanal marketplace called Bixti.com (think Etsy for Argentina). After successfully selling Bixti.com to a Brazilian competitor, he formed his second start up, Trimaker which creates and consults on 3D printing.
“Entrepreneurship is popular in Argentina - especially now,” says Alexis. “Our entrepreneurship class is 1,000 students strong and we have 50 volunteer professors.” EmprendING is free and open to everyone, regardless of whether students are currently engaged in a start up. Their key goals are: 1.) To create an entrepreneurial culture 2.) To form entrepreneurs 3.) To help those entrepreneurs change the world. “All of our teachers are entrepreneurs,” states Alexis. “We think it’s important that our professors teach, not just from an academic standpoint, but also one of experience.”
When asked what piece of advice he would offer his students, Alexis supplied two nuggets of wisdom. “The first piece of advice is to make something people want. Solve a problem don’t just be a nerd. At the end of the day, if you can’t sell it, you really don’t have a business.” His second piece of advice is to clearly know your differentiator. “Why are is your product or business better than the rest?”