Colombia and its first steps towards a collaborative economy
In this post, Gustavo Palacios, CEO of Sharecollab maps out Colombia’s current economic environment and how it’s gearing up to be collaborative economy ready in terms of tech, infrastructure and more.
Colombia is developing an attractive economic environment with great business opportunities specially boosted by free trade agreements recently signed with different countries. The country is becoming poised as a business platform to reach international markets such as US, Canada, European Union, among others.
Looking for taking maximum advantage of preferential access to these markets, the country has been developing several projects to promote world class standards on its industries and companies, with special focus on the critical role of Information Technologies (IT). The country is developing and integrating the country´s digital ecosystem: infrastructure, users, applications and services to take advantage of the benefits of the internet revolution and its new business models and trends (e -commerce, social networking, collaborative consumption, crowdsourcing, etc.).
The earliest sharing economy project was established in 1975, Ciclovia, which aimed at providing a recreational and sport space for bike riders and pedestrians every Sunday between 7:00 am and 2:00 pm, when some of the main streets in Bogota are closed. This successful model has been replicated in other cities like New York, Melbourne, Los Angeles and Paris. As a complement, more than 10 years ago, Bogota started offering the “Ciclo Ruta” , a network of more than 370 km of roads exclusively dedicated 7×24 to bicycles allowed to move safely through the city, promoting the use of cycling as an alternative transport, in the best style of Netherlands.
These past projects have been the precursors to the development of new tech-powered bike sharing project in Bogota called “Pedaleando por Bogota” (Riding bikes in Bogota). On its first phase, the project has reserved 20 km from the oldest and most recognized avenue of Bogota, for the exclusive use of pedestrians and public bicycles available for shared use. Through prior filling out of a simple online form, citizens can approach one of several counters available, to get free access to city bikes equipped with a GPS based monitoring system. Up to now, more than 100K people have already subscribed and enjoyed the city bikes. Next phases will expand the project to other city areas. Some other cities in Colombia are already planning to implement similar projects.
It’s evident that Colombia is just beginning to traverse the collaborative economy road, but it’s doing it in big strides. We are already seeing other new and interesting projects that focus on optimising the way people use and consume goods and services, in particular relating to transportation access, co-working, swapping and sharing objects and properties and recruiting networks.