10. Business uptake, entrepreneurship and digital content


This module summarises Chapter 10 which describes how the Internet and ICTs support businesses, entrepreneurship and the development and distribution of local content. It examines the situation in the region and further presents a set of policy instruments that governments can use to promote ICT adoption, digital entrepreneurship and the production of local content. Overall, while some countries now have systematically included demand-side policies in their national digital agenda, more needs to be done to increase ICT adoption among firms, especially among small companies. This includes fostering entrepreneurial skills in LAC countries and promoting the development of content in the region that serves their needs.

Explore this module

Main policy objectives
Tools for measurement and analysis
The LAC region
Leading good practices


Main policy objectives

ICT adoption by companies

The key policy objectives for increasing ICT adoption (discussed in detail in the good practices section) include:

  • Foster good Internet connectivity and ensure an open Internet so that firms can benefit from the full breadth of digital services and applications.
  • Develop policies to increase ICT adoption in firms, with a focus on small and young firms.
  • Develop a measurement agenda to monitor the use of ICTs in businesses.
  • Promote e-commerce.
  • Promote the development of digital skills with a focus on ICT usage (see also Chapter 9 on education and skills for the digital economy).
  • Promote the use of ICTs through e-procurement and e-government policies (see Chapter 12 on digital government for information and recommendations).

Promote ICT and digital entrepreneurship

Encouraging digital entrepreneurship in a country is a challenging and time-consuming task, since different policy areas are involved. However, a number of policies can help reach this goal:

  • Strengthen entrepreneurial capabilities.
  • Foster an entrepreneurial culture with the private sector and, in particular, successful entrepreneurs.
  • Review regulatory barriers to entrepreneurship.
  • Improve access to finance.
  • Promote the use of cloud computing in Latin America.

Promoting the creation and distribution of digital content and applications, including local content

The main policy objectives in this area include:

  • Foster the creation of digital content, including local content, and in particular content and applications that address the needs of the region.
  • Foster multilingualism on the web.
  • Access to hardware and software. This includes measures such as educating content creators on the availability of open and free online tools, and facilitating access to hardware and software (e.g. by lifting trade barriers or taxes).
  • Promote local hosting services so content providers can host content within the country, rather than buy hosting capacity overseas (see Chapter 8 on regional integration for information on IXPs, global interconnection and hosting).
  • Open up government data and public sector information.

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Tools for measurement and analysis

To assess the state of ICT adoption in Latin America and the Caribbean, policy makers need a holistic set of measures and surveys. Measures and indicators policy makers are advised to collect include:

  • connectivity: indicators to measure, for example, broadband access (e.g. the proportion of businesses with a broadband connection (by speed tiers, fixed/mobile) and the proportion of employees using ICTs such as computers and/or Internet-enabled portable devices

  • Internet use: indicators to measure the use of the Internet, including the proportion of businesses i) using a website: ii) having a website equipped for online ordering; and iii) online marketing activities

  • information management tools in companies: proportion of businesses using enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, customer relationship management (CRM) software, electronic data interchange (EDI), radio-frequency identification (RFID) and cloud computing, as well as the proportion of businesses sharing supply chain management (SCM) information electronically

  • e-commerce: proportion of businesses receiving orders online, via EDI messages, making sales through the Internet, as well as the proportion of turnover received through computer networks

  • e-government and the availability of open government data (see Chapter 12 on digital government for more information)

  • ICT skills: indicator to measure, for instance, the proportion of employees with digital literacy or the proportion of businesses offering ICT specialist positions

  • social media activities: indicators such as the proportion of businesses using social networks or blogs

  • local content: indicators to measure the penetration of applications and services available in local languages, as well as applications adapted to local needs

  • digital entrepreneurship: indicators that include the number of digital entrepreneurs in a country, the number of young firms, the number of citizens trained in entrepreneurship through public initiatives or the amount of venture capital investments.

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Overview of the situation in the LAC region

In the past, LAC governments have focused on supply-side policies and the deployment of broadband infrastructure. This is a necessary first step before countries can move on to strengthen ICT adoption. More recently, however, several countries in the region, such as Brazil (TI Maior Programme), Colombia (Vive Digital strategy), Mexico (Prosoft 3.0 agenda) (OECD, 2015a) or Uruguay (Agenda Digital Uruguay) (AGESIC, 2016) have a broader focus on demand-side policies in their national digital strategies.

This trend can also be seen in regional LAC fora. eLAC, for instance, just published its new “Agenda Regional Digital 2018” (CEPAL, 2015a). One of the five key areas of the agenda consists in the “development of the digital economy, innovation and competition” (Area 2). In addition, one sub-goal of Area 1, on access and infrastructure, relates to encouraging content production, especially for vulnerable groups. As for the general implementation of demand-side policies, especially increasing ICT adoption among businesses, the general finding based on the analysis of the questionnaire is that some LAC countries have developed holistic demand-side policies in the past few years. The first positive results can now be seen in the increasing rates of ICT adoption among households and companies, including micro-companies.

However, a significant number of countries have not developed demand-side policies to increase ICT adoption by firms or to foster the production of local content. While noting this weakness, it must also be acknowledged that some countries in the LAC region still face major obstacles, such as lack of electricity (see also Chapter 1).

An analysis on the state of ICT adoption in business, promotion of ICT and Internet-based entrepreneurship and of creation of digital content and applications in LAC is also included in this section of the Toolkit.

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Good practices

Increase ICT adoption by companies

In assessing business uptake in the region, policy makers should be able to rely on a sound measurement agenda, to track use and identify usage gaps. A second step involves the development of policies to increase ICT adoption in firms. This includes the promotion of digital skills. Promoting e-commerce is a third key area for expanding the markets of firms of all sizes.

Promote ICT and digital entrepreneurship

Fostering digital entrepreneurship is another way of increasing ICT uptake and creating a digital culture. LAC policy makers could review potential regulatory barriers to entrepreneurship, improving access to finance and promote the use of cloud computing as a flexible way of accessing IT resources.

Promoting the creation and distribution of digital content and applications, including local content

Finally, policy makers can focus on fostering the development of content in the LAC region that serves the needs of businesses and individuals in the regions. This includes promoting local and multilingual content.

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Introduction •  Regulatory frameworks and digital strategies •  Spectrum policy •  Competition and infrastructure bottlenecks •  Extending broadband access and services •  Affordability, government charges and digital inclusion •  Convergence •  Regional integration •  Skills and Jobs •  Business uptake, entrepreneurship and digital content •  E-health •  Digital government •  Consumer protection and e-commerce •  Digital security management •  Privacy protection


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