In the small business scene of Pereira, Colombia, ExpoCamello is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Many small businesses are made or broken by the grindstone of the local economy and events like this one. Others find their way into fame and glory as their ideas find investors, buyers and followers. While the organizers tend to claim massive benefits and great marketing. Or, You might get several thousand wind0w-shoppers checking out your bright idea and moving on with their life with no real impact on the success or failure of their business.
The biggest benefit for small businesses is the actual event, where new ideas will be hatched, disseminated and then improved on next year by other people. The biggest limitation of the event, is the chaos of the event itself. You should really give yourself all day long to walk around, eat lunch and then discover more bright ideas and fun innovations.
Top 10 Most Interesting and Innovative Start-Ups at ExpoCamello 2017
#1 | Londono’s Coffee Crafts
Our favorite vendor of the event, was this one. Part of innovation is looking for existing materials which are available in abundance, with no real use. Like Coffee wood. As the coffee plant reaches the end of its life-cycle it finishes as a thick bony tree-like bush made up of a wood which is typically hauled away or burned.
Londonos has taken this wood, sanded it down, polished it, and made it into beautiful rustic wood furniture. His work is diverse, full of color, wood-grains and texture. He puts a slightly antiqued finish on each piece, to blend light and color with the natural characteristics of coffee wood. For more information visit him on his Facebook page.
#2 | Restaurante Latino
This start-up is worthy of your notice and attention. One of the most talked about and celebrated “tipico” restaurants in the city, Latino has been written about extensively over the last year. The owner Miguel Angel, took a unique and surprisingly effective approach to the cultural dishes of Colombia. He went back to basics.
The food places an emphasis on Pacific and Caribbean plates, you will always find at least one Andean Mountain dish available as well. To create unequaled authenticity and flavor, Miguel Angel visited far off regions of some of the most inaccessible areas of Colombia. He learned from the elder cooks and locals who still used the original recipes of their ancestors.
By going back to basics and combining a few new ideas, Latino has raised the Colombian food standard by recreating flavor and quality, while still serving ample portions. Breakfast and lunch service Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
#3 | Etorno: Ecosistema de Reconciliacion (Environment: Ecosystem of Reconciliation)
This one really caught my eye considering the historical context of Colombia in 2017. As the peace process winds down a bit, and the government begins reparations, a need has arisen. How to help victims and aggressors alike learn a different way of life?
Etorno seeks to teach both the victims and ex-combatants of the Colombian Armed Conflict, skills they can use to overcome their past. They claim their services will create a productive reintegration, help forming small-businesses, psychological support and educational intervention. This start-up is teaching them how to make shoes and clothing they can sell to create better lives for their families and their local communities.
#4 | Camilo Montoya, Prendas Exclusivas
It’s easy to forget that Pereira has its place in the Colombian fashion world. Our local scene is a bit overshadowed by the Medellin fashion and clothing industry, which of course, is bigger. But, it doesn’t mean there isn’t quality to be found. And, while ExpoCamello 2017 DID have a lot of really cool grassroots fashion and design – none caught my eye like the shirts of Camilo Montoya.
Imagine a chambray cotton fabric for men, that is light as a cloud, but dense enough to signify weight and therefore quality. These shirts were designed for the tropical environment of Pereira and Colombia as a whole. wear it formal for your workday with a tie. Later you can pull it out and unbutton the top for a shirt for a casual look while you catch a game with the guys. It’s a nice look and their signature long sleeved, button-up shirt design has been cut and styled to flatter on any occasion.
#5 | Eje Beer Factory
One of the strongest branding and image innovators this year, was Eje Beer Factory. They embrace the local tradition and spirit of adventure with a bright catchy logo. Our biggest regret from ExpoCamello 2017, is that we were a bit too overwhelmed by all the bright lights and colors to connect with the guys at Eje Beer as much as we would like to in the future.
Pereira now has several local craft beer start-ups which are very slowly coming onto the scene. For now these are exclusive local craft beers which are often sold for weddings, corporate events, parties and bars which specialize in fine beer. Over time we hope to find their beer more widely available in circulation and availability. We definitely need to arrange to do an article about the craft beer scene of Pereira in the near future!
Try them out, let us know how it went. Call them for Domicilio and/or special tasting arrangements. Cell 312 729 3334
#6 | Artesanos de la Montana
Another craft beer brewery which is on the start-up trend, is Artisanos de la Montana. These guys we have met with and tasted their beer. They are very bold with their experiments and their flavors are slowly developing over time. Which is why they also deserve an equal amount of attention as Eje Beer. Both of these start-ups might be open to receive investments, support or clientele to help them grow big enough to start offering their delicious brews to a wider audience.
Discover flavors like a Citrusy Cardamom note in their beer named Cumanday, or the bold coffee infusion of their dark beer called Tatama. This small business has proven their mettle as they begin to establish some longevity and growth. We hope to see great things coming to them. Cheers!
Try them out, let us know how it went. Call them for Domicilio and/or special tasting arrangements. Contact via Facebook only at this time.
#7 | Green Natural Therapy
As the healing effects of Cannabis become more well understood we are seeing new health technologies like never before. This small start-up is no exception. They offer products made with a base of cannabis, and blended with all natural ingredients and essential oils to create products which are safe and natural to use.
Their products are mostly topical, here are a few:
“Climax” lube, which looks rather stimulating, based on the sensation arousing effects of the sativa strain.
Sannalip, a lip lube which will have your lips moisturized and smiling again in no time.
Sannaderm, a tattoo cream – which we have heard is really good quality. Protect new ink and moisturize your old ink while helping to preserve it too.
Definitely follow them on Facebook to learn more about their products and future growth.
#8 | Chorizos Del Rancho
If you love meat, especially sausages, then this is for you. We bought their sausages a few months ago at Plaza Victoria for two reasons. The flavor and the ingredients which did not include soy, fillers or large amounts of preservatives. They were delicious. These sausages are particularly special because they are made in Santa Rosa de Cabal, a small town near to Pereira, which is famous for their chorizos, or sausages.
Don’t even question us about it. Call them up, arrange some domicilio delivery and throw those fat and juicy dogs on the grill or in the frying pan. My mouth is watering right now as I write this because I really liked them, the one time I bought a bag. And you will too.
#9 | Pacoa Travel
It is a fact that what we say becomes energy. Pacoa travel is no exception, their mission is printed on their business cards and they seemed to have a really good energy and mindfulness in their approach to travel:
If Colombia is in the sights of the world,
Risaralda is in the sights of Colombia
Go beyond what everyone sees:
#ImpressYourself with Pacoa Travel
There is a local web of travel experts who are working to create travel lifestyles which will carry with you wherever you go. They (local travel experts like Pacoa Travel, Open Minded Traveler, and many more who are all dedicated to an intelligent travel environment. Each has a unique niche. This website is part of that network of small start-ups which are all working to tell the world about our home, the Coffee Axis of Colombia!
#10 | Jetrend Oficial
Another local fashion designer which caught my eye, is Jetrend. She specializes in family coordinated outfits. Their slogan is “Dos generaciones, un estilo.” Two generations, one style.
The clothing blends the Latina love for flair, with a practical look which flatters. In one combination, “Mom” looks slim and sexy in fitted leggings and a draped top which is cut in a complementary style. The daughters wore the same top, and the same type of leggings, but rather than looking sexy like mom does, they looked so CUTE! Coordinate a special outfit for family photos. Put together a special event wardrobe for the whole family.
These are some loosely chosen favorites by our editor. But of course, there were so many vendors with great ideas. This is only a small cross section which we felt had generated some unique ideas based on innovation and creativity. Be sure to come out for ExpoCamello 2018 where we will see some start-ups return, new ideas will surface, and local business will continue to evolve because in Pereira we #BuyLocal and #SupportLocal.
Owner/Editor of OpenMindedTraveler.com, Erin is also the Project Administrator/Editor of Pereira City Guide.com - She has been living in Pereira, Colombia for several years.