Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

This week's show takes a different tack and instead of focusing on literary or travel stories we are plunged into the world of entrepreneurship and that of Startups here in Colombia. The term “startup” has been bandied around with increasing frequency over the past few years to describe scrappy young ventures, hip San Francisco apps and huge tech companies. But what is a startup, really? And what is the situation here in Colombia? How is the national government promoting a quiet revolution in aiding small scale businesses and individuals across the country to break into this new world of entrepreneurship? 

We sit down with Juan Novoa, an innovator and analyst for the Colombian Ministry of Technology and Information, to talk about several fascinating stories that have taken place here in Colombia. There are tales of failure and success and from every region of the country from the northeastern deserts to urban centers such as Bogota, Medellin and Cali. 

One thing we can all agree on: the key attribute of a startup is its ability to grow. A startup is a company designed to scale very quickly. It is this focus on growth unconstrained by geography which differentiates startups from small businesses and through the Ministry's focus and promotion and their website APPS.CO Colombia has become a leader in this innovation. 

Tune in to hear some good news stories in Colombia with Juan Novoa

Direct download: Colombia_Calling-2015-01-26.mp3
Category:society and culture -- posted at: 8:47am EST

This week we sit down on Colombia Calling with Briton Naomi Dalton, the author of the a fabulously informative website entitled: "How to Bogota." (

How to Bogota is divided into seven helpful categories including those of, Life in Bogota, Transport, Money, Enterntainment, Food, Shopping and finally, Safety, must be giving the guidebooks on Colombia a run for their money. Dalton writes it as she sees and experiences it as each entry and chapter is both instructional and personal making it an enjoyable page to read and indeed re-visit. 

This is a fascinating interview with someone making a life here in Bogota and who has set out her stall to help others in the same situation. You can read her pieces on how to procure gainful employment, the ins and outs and the bureaucracy of renting an apartment and how to avoid being a target for common crime in the city. 

Dalton's website is highly recommended and is a must read for anyone thinking of coming to Bogota for an extended period of time. I only wish that she had set this up back in 2007 when I had to take on all these challenges alone!

Direct download: Colombia_Calling-2015-01-19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Finishing up the series and Episode 81 of Colombia Calling in Mompos, we sit down this week with Briton Chris Bell and discuss the finer things in Colombia such as the differences between birding, birdwatchers and twitchers, Radamel Falcao's move to Manchester United, traveling in Colombia and what 2015 possibly means for the peace dialogues. 

Hailing from rural Shrewsbury we discover what has brought Chris Bell to Colombia and how he became the editor in chief of the See Colombia Travel blog ( - voted best blog of the Americas in 2014. The Colombia Travel Blog, the most visited travel blog about Colombia in English and Spanish, was created to smash the widespread and long outdated stereotypes about this astonishing country. Their team of international travelers are passionate about sharing their fresh perspectives about traveling and living in Colombia, traveling around the world and keeping you up to date with what you're missing by not being here.

So, tune in for a frank, enjoyable and amusing chat with Chris Bell.

Direct download: Colombia_Calling-2015-01-12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:21am EST

Clearly, we are all aware that Colombia's Nobel Prize Winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez did not, in fact, hail from Ireland, but, in the first episode for Colombia Calling in 2015, we discuss with authors Victoria Kellaway (Colombia: A Comedy of Errors) and Caroline Doherty de Novoa (Dancing with Statues) a new collection of "Gabo" inspired essays written by Colombians and foreigners alike and due for publication in April of this year.

With submissions from all over the globe and with a number of heavyweight contributors, this new homage to Gabo will be launched at Bogota's Book Fair which runs from April 22 to May 4 2015, and be edited by the aforementioned authors and myself and published by Papen Press. 

Noting the change that is taking place in Colombia, the new year ahead and new challenges for the country, the three of us sit down in the garciamarquian setting of Mompos ( and discuss the inspiration and the reasons behind this new book, who it is aimed at and why it should appeal to anyone interested in Colombia. As yet, we are still sifting through the submissions but it is so interesting and exciting to have personal articles from a true variety of backgrounds, countries and contexts and all of which are very different from one another.

Listen in here to an exclusive sneak peak of "Was Gabo an Irishman" and whet your appetite for a fresh look at the magic realism of Colombia.

Direct download: Colombia_Calling-2015-01-05.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:38pm EST