Peruvian startups preparing for disaster and how to keep calm and carry on

By August 16, 2018

For Latin America, natural disasters are an ever-present threat. Nowhere is this more clear than on the shaken island of Puerto Rico which has only recently gained power after 11 months, due to the devastation of hurricane Maria. However, for one resilient startup, Abartys Health, it was business as usual. This was due to the startup’s excellent preparation and well-executed strategy, ready for when disaster hit.

“When Hurricane María hit, our culture of responsibility and accountability was put to the test: I went days without being able to get in touch with several co-workers. Yet, I was confident that the work was getting done. Our programming team, for example, worked on their computers locally and later made updates to the system once they were able to access the Internet,” states Dolmarie Mendez, co-founder and CEO of Abartys Health, according to a recent article in Entrepreneur.

She adds “The whole experience validated my belief that a great company needs to prioritize cultivating talented, self-motivated and resourceful people. It also taught me that whether a company makes this a priority may become the measure of its resilience. When storm clouds hit, this is what will decide whether your company will swim or sink.”

In Peru, startups are well aware of the impact natural disaster can have on the economy, business, and general society. It is an aspect of life that has not gone unnoticed by UTEC (Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología) one of Peru’s driving startup forces, home to UTEC Ventures, the leading community of mentors, investors, and entrepreneurs in Peru.

Last year, it held its first hackathon with competitors striving to mitigate the impact of the El Niño phenomenon in  Peru. The event took place on the UTEC campus in Barranco and brought together more than 200 participants which started with 30 teams made up of programmers, designers and entrepreneurs, who put their creativity into action and presented innovative proposals, working throughout the night. Of the many solutions put forward, the jury selected PuentesPerú, Churre, AlertaSMS and Hero.

“UTEC, in its interest to present viable solutions to real problems, made its first Hackathon in order to continue motivating young people to work on proposals that face real difficulties, such as the El Niño phenomenon. It has been very pleasing for us to be able to gather so many young people and work with them for 12 hours in a row to get a demo of their product and present it to the jury that rated the best proposals. It was exciting to see their energy throughout the night working on the search for solutions with great social impact “said Gonzalo Villarán, Director of UTEC Ventures, according to UTEC’s website.

It is clear that we are facing very unpredictable changes across the world, with temperatures reaching record highs, and disasters hitting a variety of countries. However, with the right preparation and innovation, startups and ventures such as Abartys Health and UTEC can help us produce a more stable future for all of us, allowing us to keep calm and carry on in the face of disaster.