Department of Business Innovation

IncentivesWhat is innovation?

The Department of Business Innovation promotes innovation as the main factor in the competitiveness of the business sector, through Calls for Grants for business innovation projects, cooperation agreements, support for the development of the entrepreneurship strategy, events to promote coordination and associative mechanisms, promotion of discussion forums, consensus building, active participation in government committees, active presence in business associations and forums, among others. Its mission is to promote the use of knowledge and creativity as pillars of a new, more competitive, and sustainable Panamanian economy.

Innovation (technology-based) is a process that consists of bringing new or traditional scientific or empirical knowledge to the market (the economy or society) in the form of a new or modified product or process. Innovation is not a linear and unidirectional process; it is cumulative and interactive. Innovation is part of and defines the very character and depth of each element of competitiveness.

Innovation is the fruit of a social process. It is cooperative in nature and enables progress for individuals and society as a whole. Innovations, therefore, are not only of a technological nature, but also of the contextual conditions that favor economic, social, and cultural development. In a development context, innovation is expected to contribute to improving people’s standard of living.

Fuente: Aguirre-Bastos, C. (2014) Glosario comentado de términos de política científica, tecnología e innovación.

Sector Collaboration

Institutional Collaboration, Guilds and Associations
  • Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Authority (AMPYME as in Spanish)
    • Participation in the Technical Roundtable of the Panamanian Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, whose objective is to visualize action alternatives to transform the Panamanian Entrepreneurship Ecosystem into a regional benchmark.
    • Other collaborative activities.
  • CAPACTEC (as in Spanish)
    • Cooperation Agreements for the development and implementation of the ICTs Strategic Plan to support ICT clusters.
    • Support of BIZFIT Fair
    • Active collaboration to turn Panama into an ICT hub
  • Panama Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture
    • Business Innovation Award: The purpose of the award is to promote and strengthen the capacity for innovation in Panamanian companies by recognizing successful business innovation activities.
    • Support of Expologística Fair: EXPO LOGÍSTICA PANAMA is developed with the participation of about 150 local and foreign companies with products and services oriented to the area of logistics and multimodal transportation where about 3,738 business contacts are made. EXPO LOGISTICA PANAMA, is an exemplary joint effort of the private and governmental sector, created to promote Panama as an important logistics route for its privileged geography, so that the industry maintains growth, dynamism, and innovation.
    • Support for Expocomer Fair: the International Trade Exhibition Fair (EXPOCOMER as in Spanish) brings together suppliers and potential buyers from over 35 countries as a meeting and interaction point for the commercial exchange of Panama and the region. It is within the framework of this fair that the Business Innovation Award is presented.

National and Regional Competitiveness
  • Competitiveness Council– It is the advisory body of the Executive Branch regarding the development of policies, programs, and projects for the improvement of the national competitive capacity. It is chaired by the Ministry of the Presidency and directed by the Secretariat of Competitiveness and Logistics. It is integrated by the Ministers of Commerce and Industries, Economy and Finance, Education, Labor and Labor Development, Government Innovation Authority, National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation, and the National Institute of Vocational Training and Training for Human Development.
  • National Competitiveness Center (CNC as in Spanish) – It is a non-profit organization, where, the presidents of business sector organizations, representatives of the labor sector, well-known businessmen and government officials at the highest level participate in a public-private convergence.
    • Board of Trustees -Participation in meetings of the CNC Board of Trustees.
    • National Competitiveness Forum – Members of the Forum Organizing Committee and Speakers of Roundtable 3: Technology, Innovation and Research for the Public Sector.
  • Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC as in Spanish) of the Organization of American States (OEA as in Spanish) – SENACYT (as in Spanish) is one of the members of this Network on behalf of Panama. In the spaces for dialogue facilitated by RIAC (as in Spanish), country representatives from the public and private sectors meet to analyze the outlook for competitiveness in the Americas, define strategies, reach agreements, and approve an annual work plan to strengthen exchange and collaboration among countries.

Social Innovation
Red Nacional de Gestores de Innovación Social (RENGIS)– Congrega a diferentes sectores: Estado, Empresa, Académico y la Sociedad Civil, con la finalidad de generar alianzas y promover espacios de debate e intercambio de conocimiento sobre prácticas novedosas de gestión y tecnológicas para abordar retos sociales desde y con la comunidad.

The Business Innovation Promotion Program

The Business Innovation Promotion Program seeks to strengthen the competitiveness of companies in Panama by promoting their capacity for innovation through public Calls for Grants for projects. Over the years, the Department of Business Innovation has periodically developed specific Calls for Grant proposals. It has also created new types of Calls for Grant proposals that pursue the purpose of the program. Some of these Calls for Grants are detailed below:

Business Innovation ProjectsPromotion of new ventures: Seed capitalPromotion of new ventures: Capital for ventures in the scaling-up phaseSupport for activities that promote innovation and entrepreneurshipInnovation projects for the agricultural sector in PanamaInnovation projects in the information and communications technology sectorCall for Grant proposals for social innovation
This is one of the most long-standing Calls for Grant proposals in the Department, and seeks to strengthen the competitiveness of companies in Panama by fostering their capacity for innovation. It seeks to provide economic subsidies to partially support innovation projects that promote the development of innovations with impact at the enterprise level, based on the adaptation, integration and validation of existing technologies and components, aimed at their successful introduction in the market.
This Call for Grants seeks to support new entrepreneurs and microenterprises in the development of innovative business projects that, accompanied by an incubation-acceleration process, have the potential for international growth.
For the Call for Grants for entrepreneurship in the scaling phase, the Department of Business Innovation seeks to support the creation of new companies or the growth of young, innovative companies. In both cases the proposed business model or product must have at least a complete market study and the definition of a Minimum Viable Product, or a prototype if applicable.
This Call for Grants is aimed at supporting activities that promote and strengthen the development of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship, providing total or partial economic subsidies that provide added value, training, and impact to the participants.
In order to support the agricultural sector through economic subsidies, a Call for Grants for projects that use innovation and technology to improve competitiveness in the agricultural sector is launched, allowing the opening of new markets and achieving high quality satisfaction of all consumers in our country.
The Call for Grants for Innovation Projects to the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Sector has the objective of fostering and promoting the development of new technologies, in all productive sectors of the country, using innovation as the main component. The purpose of this Call for Grant proposals is to grant economic subsidies to support innovation projects based on information and communication technologies
The call for grant proposals for social innovation seeks to generate solution proposals with a focus on science, technology, and innovation, for social challenges through consultation processes and citizen participation; creating a value that primarily benefits society as a whole, rather than an individual person.
These solution proposals generate a social impact and seek to be sustainable, scalable, and replicable, through entrepreneurship models.

Cooperation Agreements on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in support of the business, academic and training sectors

The Department of Business Innovation supports various activities and projects in Innovation and Entrepreneurship through Cooperation Agreements with actors of the innovation ecosystem in the sector and academic and training initiatives. We can highlight the following initiatives carried out through Cooperation Agreements:

Initiatives for the development of patents, technology transfer, and commercialization:The Department of Business Innovation develops a series of programs for capacity building in the areas of knowledge exchange, technology transfer and commercialization, at the professional, institutional, and national levels, including the drafting of patents, various training programs and the review of national and institutional legislation in these areas, in collaboration with international organizations and public institutions.