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Universidad de Montevideo

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Overview

The University of Montevideo(UM) started off in 1986 as the Institute of Business Studies of Montevideo (IEEM). Some months later the IEEM started a postgraduate in business law. From there the IEEM continued incorporating new courses mixing law and business, such as seminar in management, business administration, master's degree in business law and much more.

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It wasn't until April 29 of 1997 that the IEEM was approved to function as a university and from there it's known as the Universidad de Montevideo. To be legally approved as a national university it was demanded the existence of three areas of knowledge, these were:

  • Law
  • Business Science and Economics
  • Engineering

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School of Engineering of Universidad de Montevideo

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School of Business Science and Economics, and Communication of Universidad de Montevideo

Now the UM has 9 different schools including schools for graduate students:

  • Law School
  • Humanities & Education
  • School of Business Science and Economics
  • School of Engineering
  • School of Communication
  • Humanities and Teaching School
  • School of Biomedical Sciences (For graduate students)
  • Business School (IEEM)
  • Center for tertiary training in services and innovation


Actually the UM offers 20 different majors for undergraduate students and 28 majors for graduate students, through the schools listed above, also it has been ranked the best university in Uruguay by the QS ranking.

Student Entrepreneurship

There is an increasing number of students who choose to become entrepreneurs at Universidad de Montevideo. Most of them start this path before graduating but it is also often that alumni become entrepreneurs after some professional experience or completing an MBA.

One of the biggest successful entrepreneur story started in 2009, when Agustina Sartori and Carolina Bañales, two telematic engineers, decided to innovate in the beauty and cosmetics area. They received funds from ANII, settled their office at the university and with some student interns developed the first prototype of a virtual makeover. The product was sold to a local store and after that Start Up Chile, 500 Startups and Plug and Play supported and invested in their new app: GlamST.

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Agustina and Carolina founders of GlamST

Social entrepreneurship is also something that is being fostered at UM. Valentina Quagliotti was one of the first entrepreneurs in Uruguay to combine a business model with a social cause when she found Ikusi, a social video production startup. She also was the first Director of Socialab Uruguay, a latin american pre incubator for social ventures.

Not everybody succeed at first attempt, that is why Ignacio Menafra started Wanna an e-commerce portal and his fourth venture.

Recently, another startup created by a Jeronimo Acosta, has been growing exponentially. His business is calledChill Travel,and consists of a secure luggage skin that will protect the valuables items carried in the customers bag and will tell him in real-time where his things.

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Jerónimo Acosta, founder of ChillTravel using the secure luggage skin.

Fortunately there are a lot of successful stories and you can know more about them here.

Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The number of professors and faculty members fostering innovation and entrepreneurship has been growing in the last couple of years. This whole new spirit lead to the creation of Initium. This center has created different courses and workshops stimulating students and professors to develop new skills and attitudes with an innovation and entrepreneurship mindset. It is also a place for connection between students, alumni entrepreneurs, accelerators and other extracurricular entities.There are also other courses that stimulate innovation in their areas, such as Engineering Labs or Investment Projects Creativity and Innovation, or Entrepreneurial Initiative for example.

Furthermore, the University has tried to increase the number of professors with and entrepreneurship background. As example of this, we have the coordinator of the Business Management degree. Her name is Maria Passadore,  former worker of Endeavour and co-creator with Josefina Maisonnave, Initium Director,  of “Pura”. This business is dedicated to the management of boutique hotels of less than 25 rooms. She, has been also working on providing students with useful skills for their future, that is why she has introduced new courses, such as Improvisation Workshops.

In addition, new classrooms have been equipped with moving furniture and prototyping materials in order to create an evironment which promotes innovation.

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Z-room at the main building

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Z-room at Engineer Building

University Technology Transfer Function

The UM doesn’t have a technology transfer office, but it has a  policy regarding intellectual property. Everything made in the university belongs to it. However as a student you could ask for the intellectual property of a project before starting it. Then you would have to have a meeting and sign some paperwork.

University - Industry Collaboration

The university has a wide range of partnerships with different industries and businesses. One of the main reasons for that, are the compulsory internships that each student has to make each summeras a requisite in order to obtain their degree. This gives the students a better picture of reality and forces them to evaluate their career and opportunities, at the same time their gain hands on experience and start forming their working network.

Initium has recently develop some entrepreneurship focus internships in different startups. This initiative not only gives the student the opportunity to experience a real work experience but also stimulates innovation and entrepreneurship at the same time.

Some classes come together with local companies to develop or find a solution to a real problem. This semester for example in the Lab V course, telematics and computer engineers used their combined skills to find a solution to Mastra’s prepaid card system. Mastra is a local bar, pioneer in craft beer in Uruguay. It began as a startup founded by Ing.Wilfredo Camacho, graduate of the Universidad de Montevideo and Alejandro Cardozo.

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Wilfredo Camacho, Mastra

Another course that aims to give students the tools to find solutions to real problems is I-Lab. This is a 3 months long course where students form groups, and each group is assigned a different business with whom it has to work with in order to find solutions to the problem that each business is currently facing. All students learn to make use of the Design Thinking techniques and work together with students from all majors, both essential aspects regarding innovation.

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Josefina Maisonnave- Initium Director

In some faculties there are research offices that offer students internships by helping professors in their investigations. Let’s take for example the CINOI (Center of Innovation in Industrial Organization). It’s main objective is to form a stronger bond between the university and the business world, and it’s vision is to be a pioneer Center of Innovation and Applied Research in Industrial Organization in Latin America.

LOOP, Semana de la Innovación.

In august 2018 an important event was held at Universidad de Montevideo.

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LOOP, Semana de la Innovación was a unique latin american experience that united visionary people, visionary students and visionary organizations worried about inclusion and making an impact in not only the continent, but also the world.

As previously mentioned, LOOP is a community that aims for change, impact and inclusion in Latin America throughout innovation. The event sought to create spaces for inclusion and interdisciplinarity where the exchange of ideas and initiatives could happen and generate movement in our communities.
The event had the support of and was organized by Universidad de Montevideo, Universidad Tecnológica, Universidad Católica del Uruguay, Universidad CLAEH, and Universidad ORT.

The key concepts of the event were:

  • INNOVATION:We aim to add value to our communities and our society, to improve what already exists and to think outside the box.
  • IMPACT:We seek to share the spirit of innovation, our accomplishments and, above all, to generate tangible results in the contexts we move in.
  • INCLUSION:Not only we work from a place of multidisciplinarity, but also we intend that our successes reach those who are usually excluded and forgotten.

Among the activities and methodologies offered, international and uruguayan participants got familiar with Design Thinking in order to empathise with users and identify their problems and challenges. In addition, participants applied Lego Serious Play, another innovative methodology, useful to generate solutions. Prototyping based on Lean Methodologies was also a key aspect that proved to be important during the testing phase with real users.

Regional and Local Economic Development

Latin America has become a breeding ground for new businesses led by young people and it is now the second most enterprising region in the world, according to the World Bank.

“What really differentiates Uruguay from its neighbors is it’s incredibly stable economy and political situation, as well as its notable middle class. Uruguay has created an environment welcoming to foreign investment: the legal framework is stable and dependable and in terms of policy, its infrastructure is highly developed and acknowledged to be one of the top countries for software. Uruguay is also well known to be progressive in several fields, such as gay rights and marijuana consumption, which has helped Uruguayan entrepreneurs create products adapted to emerging markets and developed markets” says SeedStars in his last report on Latin American Entrepreneurship.

Uruguay's startup culture is growing incredibly fast this last couple of years. The National Agency of Innovation and Investigation (ANII)has been an amazing partner of this movement.This agency, which was also named before, analizes startups projects and gives economical support considering the potentiality of each business. Many startups created by students from the University of Montevideo have been supported by the ANI receiving foundings as well as advise. Other entities such as incubators, accelerators, co work spaces and Innovation Centers from the different Universities have also played an incredible role and especially because of the synergy they developed.

Related Links

Campus Overview

Campus Priorities

Landscape Canvas

University Innovation Fellows (2017):

Romina Dominzain

Luis Gurméndez

Matías Menéndez

Cecilia Tejera

University Innovation Fellows (2018):

Sofia Baldomir

Claudio Baz

Juan Echartea

Gala Maldonado

Diego Pilosof

Lucia Rodriguez

Guillermo Stock

Carolina Vassallucci

University Innovation Fellows (2019):

Emanuel Berón

Florencia Macedo

Édina Mendiondo

Rodrigo Sanchez