"The financial industry should keep up with innovations that might disrupt business as usual"
Diego Ching is an UPF-BSM Masters of Science in Management alumni. From Costa Rica, he works for the Sistema de Banca para el Desarrollo in the unit in charge of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
What have you been doing careerwise since you graduated from UPF-BSM?
I graduated from the UPF-BSM Masters of Science in Management Program with specialization in Business Analytics on the year 2015, soon after graduation I moved back to my home country, Costa Rica, and started collaboration with a state institution, called Sistema de Banca para el Desarrollo (Banking for Development System, SBD), within SBD in the unit in charge of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in Costa Rica.
What do you do at Sistema de Banca para el Desarrollo?
SBD is a public institution in charge of promoting viable productive projects by providing different financial and non -financial services to start-ups and Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). So basically, SBD mandate is to develop financial services such as credit, seed and venture capital, guarantees and other financial tools as well as support programs amongst technical assistance, scholarships, and others. Currently, I am the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Coordinator, so I develop and implement of tools directed to support innovative entrepreneurship nationwide, along with relevant stakeholders, such as academia and the private sector, with the aim to enhance the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country.
What did you learn in the UPF-BSM that you apply to your current job?
Overall the Master in Science gives you the opportunity to study the main areas of an enterprise, from finance to human resources or marketing. However, this is really well complemented with the thesis work, you have the chance to pick. For instance, for my Master Thesis I researched the topic of entrepreneurship, understating how different factors affect entrepreneurial activities. Which make sense when designing tools to promote the sector.
What are the most interesting challenges you face at work?
As an upcoming unit in charge of designing and implementing novel policies to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem it is needed to continuously innovate and adapt to different markets conditions and its fundamental challenges. Therefore, implementing financial tools that have not been implemented on the current context offers a set of opportunities to incorporate the best international practices to reach the goals set for the country’s economic development.
Your institution is designed for the financing of private projects which deserve to be promoted on general economic grounds, and that their salient task is usually to provide medium- and long-term funds. Which are, in your opinion, the most interesting project your company is working on, right now?
Financial Inclusion for SMEs and startups is one of the main goals, filling up the financing gap from lending to equity investment, will have a positive impact on the entrepreneurship ecosystem and business development.
What role do the SDGs play in your work?
Costa Rica has been fully committed with the implementation of SDGs across government policies. As part of these efforts, the Seed Capital Programs are mostly designed to support initiatives that help overcome challenges such as climate crisis, financial inclusion, gender inequality, high quality employment, innovation and productivity gaps, amongst others.
What role do the SDGs play when allocating funds to entrepreneurship projects?
As SBD has the legal mandate to support the Costa Rican development path, that is aligned with the SDGs, specific programs are implemented to support entrepreneurship and innovation projects under these verticals, for instance: decarbonization, sustainable agriculture, financial inclusion towards women and transformational innovation.
What do you think is the future of the sector and what do you think leaders in this field need?
I consider the overall financial industry should keep up to date with the current innovations, and technologies that might disrupt business as usual, such as blockchain. It is indispensable for business leaders to understand such technologies.
How do you see your future in a few years?
I see myself contributing to promote the regional investment ecosystem.