Profiles of main tech parks, accelerators, hackathons
Innovation, research and technological development are at minimum levels in Venezuela already for several years (Martínez, 2018). Explanation might be found in the lack of resources of universities, the main founder and location of the innovation system, together with the emigration of thousands of researchers; these two arguments are simply the materialisation of the economic, social and political crisis of Venezuela. The application of regulations, usually with political goals, has also harmed innovation (Gutiérrez, 2016). At the same time, the socialist approach of Venezuela has led innovation, technology and science towards projects of social development and inclusion (Casas, Corona & Rivera, 2013).
The most common innovation efforts are made by universities and their technological parks. We can then affirm that innovation is not restricted to certain groups, but the strong polarisation and politicisation of these institutions, both by the government and opposition supporters does offer an ideological barrier for certain groups, forms or lines of innovation and investigation.
The oldest and most relevant technological innovation centres in Venezuela are the Parque Tecnológico Sartenejas, connected to the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, the Parque Tecnológico Universitario del Zulia, belonging to the Zulian University in Maracaibo, the Parque Tecnológico de Mérida, created by the University of Los Andes in Mérida or the Parque Tecnológico de Barquisimeto, associated to the Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado in Barquisimeto. Together with these ones should be mentioned the Centro Nacional de Tecnologías de Información (National Centre of Technologies of Information - CNTI), belonging to the Ministry of University Education, Science and Technology, which is in charge mainly of the technological update of state institutions.
There are some collaboration experiences between these institutions and between different universities. The Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (Foundation for the Development of Science and Technology - FUNDACITE) offers experiences of scientific and technological knowledge exchange in each of the different regions of the country, but there is not a national specific plan to coordinate their activities or to facilitate info sharing in general. There exist also awards, conferences and grants, but they are often used with political goals, what brakes technology and innovation, as they require a free environment to advance and develop.