Latin American startups - Statistics & Facts

Starting a company is not an easy task, nevertheless the world has been witnessing a growing number of startups being created. In 2017, only in Latin America and the Caribbean the rate of working-age population involved in start-ups amounted to 11.7 percent. From that total, 16.3 percent of new businesses were founded in Brazil, while 11.7 percent were based in Guatemala.

The prevalent industry of entrepreneurial activity in Latin America is wholesale and/or retail, as more than half of new companies in the region operate in this sector. The least common industry for new businesses in the region is finance, which accounts for only 1.1 percent of startup activity in Latin America. Yet, the most successful nascent company in the region was the Brazilian Nubank, whose funding amount reached 527.6 million U.S. dollars in 2018.

Entrepreneurs often focus on success stories, however failure is also part of the process of starting and keeping a business. Statistics from Mexico, Argentina and Colombia show that the failure rate of startups in their initial stages is considerably higher. Still, in a recent survey, 63.7 percent of Latin American respondents said that starting a business is a good career choice. According to another survey carried out in Mexico, women were more convinced that starting a business is a good career option. Indeed, entrepreneurship seems to be an attractive path of professional development for women in Latin America, where the share of female participation in early-stage entrepreneurial activities was higher than in Europe.

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