The government recently launched a platform to help promote the development of businesses among entrepreneurs and the already existing 150,000 PyMES (small and medium sized enterprises) in the city. This new, easily accessible Map of Commercial Opportunities, gathers and analyzes large volumes of information so users can detect the risk of opening a business in certain areas and identify market opportunities.
In the last Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report, Argentina ranked a solid 16 out of 64 countries, with an entrepreneurial activity rate of more than 14%. However, the success of Argentina’s business ventures is far from guaranteed: 10% of the surveyed local adult population closed their stores in the last 12 months, and in the same report 26% of adult participants voiced a fear of business failure.
Hence, the government set out to create a tool to guide budding entrepreneurs through the process of figuring out what type of business to create and where to do it. The app was developed by the City of Buenos Aires’ Ministry of Modernization, Innovation and Technology led by Andy Freire. Information is sourced and analyzed from multiple outlets like Telefónica, from which the Ministry purchased a US $300,000 database that includes information about mobility of the population.
Other sources include: the Agency of Governmental Control (AGC), the Ministry of Planning Urban Development and Transport, the General Directorate of Statistics and Census of the City, the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses of the Argentine Republic (INDEC), The Governmental Administration of Public Revenue (AGIP), and BA Data and Properati.
As a result, we now have a map of all things business via Buenos Aires. The app is the first big data platform of the city that allows users to access a commercial evaluation of nearly every neighborhood and zone. It offers a detailed report of different areas to include factors such as store openings and closings within the last two years, information on the average sales of different types of stores, and a stability index based on the survival of a business over time. The options cover nearly all business opportunity ventures from bars and cafés, to sports institutions, veterinary establishments, and music and bookstores.
In addition, the platform breaks down the complex population layout of the city. For example, the app can provide the number of people living and working in particular areas, subdivided by age range and sex, and real estate data that summarizes the average rental value per square meter.
As Pablo Mlynkiewicz, Project Director of Ciudad Inteligente y Gobierno Abierto elaborated to La Nacion, “the objective is to mix technologies to unite entrepreneurs Tinder style and obtain financing within the application, but to do that users need to log in. In addition, for other instances, the data will also be useful for the government and not only for the neighbor, because the relevance and exportation of this information for other uses is enormous.”
It’s very simple to use through a guided 2 step process. Afterwards, the user has the option to continue browsing throughout the city or request a full report with all the information included in the analysis. From there, one can share or print the results with the click of a button.
The app was originally created in South Korea and had already existed in the market while developing for about three years. Andy Freire also explained to La Nacion, “Last year there was a Korean delegation that said it had the same problem as us, a high failure rate of the new premises that were opened with a very short durability. We were shown the application, we were invited to travel and we discovered that there was an exportable technology.”
The first two years of the project were used to evaluate data and it took another one to fully develop the app. At the beginning of the project, over 32 databases were evaluated from multiple organizations, but eventually only 7 were confirmed to have a marked differential in the entrepreneurial world. As Mlynkiewicz stated, “this type of information saved us years of work, they trained us and instructed us in the techniques and algorithms.”
Hopefully this new Map of Commercial Opportunities will live up to its name, and we’ll see more shops popping up around the corner with your favorite heladería or café in the next few years.