7 lessons from Héroes Fest 2017

Colombia is evolving.

We see this not only by the increasing amount of tourists exploring the wonders of this beautiful and divers country, but also in Colombia’s startup scene and innovation ecosystem.

This is the result of public initiatives supported by the government, like iNNpulsa and Apps.co, that increase venture capital, the entrepreneurial culture and mentality, and the amount of successful startups in Colombia.

In line with the government’s objectives, iNNpulsa organized the 4th edition of Héroes Fest from 29 nov to 1 dec.

Héroes Fest 2017

This 3-day festival for innovation and entrepreneurship is based on collaboration, vision, determination, and passion for designing and transforming Colombia’s future.

The main message of Héroes Fest is that entrepreneurship and innovation is key to, not only a successful economy, but also key to solving the country’s social, and environmental issues. During the festival they called upon the Colombian citizens to innovate in social and environmental topics.

Yes, this country has it’s issues. But instead of complaining about it or leaving the country to find favorable business climates elsewhere, get up, take action, and look for innovative solutions to Colombia’s problems. We need heroes, people that want to solve social and environmental problems without expecting something in return.

Top 7 lessons from Héroes Fest

As Coworking Cartagena’s mission is

to learn, grow, do what we love, and share this with a community that wants to generate significant changes and is always looking for collective growth, while not losing our individual goals out of sight,

I felt I could learn at Héroes Fest how to promote better connection, collaboration, and passion to achieve this collective growth. This way, Coworking Cartagena can help Colombia to flourish by helping Cartagena and it’s entrepreneurs to flourish.

So I decided to participate, and would love to share with you the top 7 lessons I have learned at Héroes Fest.

Disclaimer: All following believes and messages were transmitted by speakers at Héroes Fest.

1. Execution is key

I often hear people say they don’t want to talk about their project because they are scared that their idea will be copied. But as Donnie Lygonis says from KTH – Royal Institute of Technology:

“No idea happens by itself. It’s always people that make ideas happen.”

This is where most people fall short. “We dream, we plan, and then we don’t execute our plan because of fear for failure” dixit Julian Torres, founder of Fitpal.

And this is also valid for innovation. “Innovation without implementation is just an invention” as was stated. But you don’t have to be an inventor to innovate. Most innovative products in history weren’t invented by their companies. The technology on the basis of those products was already invented, often years before, but it had just never been implemented in a business model AND executed.

2. The importance of connections

During the festival the importance of connections was highlighted by several guest speakers.

The overall message was that talking to people leads to new opportunities. Never be afraid to make connections, talk about your project and create opportunities.

You have to get out there and talk to people, whether it’s a (potential) client, a provider, a friend, a person with a totally different background. You can learn something from everyone and you never know.. maybe the person next to you in the taxi will become your future business partner, like happened to Mauricio Toro (iNNpulsa).

3. Passion + Skill = Purpose

One should try to find its ‘Purpose’ in life. Carl-Johan Westring, Vice President of EF, states that PASSION + SKILL = PURPOSE. If you find something you love AND you are very good at, you have found your purpose.

Now, why is this so important? Because doing what you love and what you’re good at will make you a happier person and it will make it easier to get through the dark moments of entrepreneurship.

Although he found his purpose in eduction, he is still looking for new purposes in life. He says there is no such thing as “1 purpose”. Finding ways in how you can contribute to this world AND love doing it, is an endless search.


4. Failing is inevitable

Entrepreneurship by definition is characterized by uncertainty. “It’s is like entering a dark room. There is no doubt that you will hit your head or fall over the obstacles in the room. So you should learn how to fall and get up again.” as Julian Torres says, founder of Fitpal. 

That is why you should fail fast (as this means you can fail cheap). Start with prototyping, validating and implementing incremental changes, and execute this as a loop that never ends.

5. Talk about failure

FuckUp Night – Héroes Fest 2017

On the 2nd day of the Festival a FuckUp night was organized. An event where three speakers get to talk about their entrepreneurial failures.

As failure is part of entrepreneurship it is liberating, inspiring, fun, and educational to get it out in the open.

So don’t hold back. Talk about your failures!


6. Find balance between planning and risking

The first guest speaker at FuckUp Night was Julian Torres, founder of Fitpal. He talked about how he was so eager to execute his brilliant idea of bringing Korean’s automatic water spray toilet seats to Colombia without measuring whether the seats actually fit Colombian toilets (the answer was ‘no’ by the way). He had jumped immediately into the execution of his idea (shipping the toilet seats to Colombia), without having a well-thought plan.

But the opposite happens even more. A lot of people start planning and never jump to the execution because there’s always a percentage of uncertainty (which leads to fear). Both extremes lead to nothing. So, to be an entrepreneur means to find a good balance between the two. Once you have a good plan (i.e. not perfect), jump!

7. Get support

All guest speakers have said it: Entrepreneurship is a difficult road to walk. But there are a lot of initiatives that support entrepreneurship and innovation. So don’t try to set up a business by yourself. Look for people and organizations that can help you!


Did you participate in Héroes Fest? Let us know and tell us what your greatest learnings were!

Or check out what other participants have to say and watching this video of iNNpulsa’s about the first day of Héroes Fest!

Sources: Héroes Fest,WorldbankTech Crunch

Posted by

I am passionate about writing, connection (not wifi, the human one), discovering life to its full glory, and dancing my ass off to Champeta beats.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s