The technology scene in Nicaragua is still at a very early point. In Nicaragua, internet penetration is below 20 percent, making it tough, if not impossible, for technical advancement. The nation depends on agriculture, the largest percentage in Central America, representing 17 percent of GDP.
The entrepreneurial scene isn’t invisible, but it continues to expand. “Starting a start-up in Nicaragua is like playing the toughest video game you know,” said Luis Montalvan, co-founder of Vynil, a smartphone application for nomads.
The lack of available support and investment makes it hard for technologies and creative efforts to get off the ground. Hopefully, this perspective is changing; here are five facts on Nicaragua’s technology and entrepreneurial environment for now.
1. Micro-businesses and SMEs are promoted by Law 645.
Ley número 645 de Promoción, Fomento y Desarrollo de la Micro, Pequeña y Mediana Empresa aims to help SMEs and micro-enterprises be categorized and promoted. However in order to be considered corporations, companies must comply with the law’s all form rules. For emerging businesses, this also presents a challenge.
2. Coworking spaces unite the entrepreneur community
While the technology scene in Nicaragua is still in its infancy, there are places to go for entrepreneurs. For coworking, La Fábrica Coworking, co-labora, and Encuentros both offer multiple choices. Some offer opportunities for events and networking so that entrepreneurs can come together in Nicaragua and share ideas.
3. Outsourcing services are booming in Nicaragua
There are several outsourcing centers in the country today, which is a growing industry in Nicaragua. The country registered exporting US$134 million in 2017 and receiving investment of over US$92 million to date. Though Nicaragua is still an agricultural society, outsourcing has led to GDP growth in recent years.
4. Agtech is yet to take off
While agriculture accounts for 60% of Nicaragua’s total exports, there is still no disruption to agricultural technology in the region. A research by the Central American Institute of Business Administration (Instituto Centroamericano de Administración de Empresas) showed that Nicaragua is the country with the least technical advances in agriculture in Central America.
In the technical improvements from 1981-2012, Nicaragua just grew by 0.2 percent. Costa Rica grew 0.9 percent, Honduras 1.2 percent, and Guatemala 0.5 percent, by comparison.
5. The government emphasizes English and classroom technology
The Nicaraguan government declared in 2018 that it would work on two school programs. The first is the inclusion of more English, and the second is the introduction of more classroom technologies. More than 56,000 teachers were expected by the Ministry of Education to be educated in the use of technology in the classroom.