EFEGuadalajara, Mexico

Talent Land, a gathering aimed at inspiring innovation and entrepreneurship among young people, is being held this week in the western city of Guadalajara, where some 30,000 participants from across Mexico are expected to flock to learn about project development and tech tools.

With the support of universities, private corporations and the Jalisco state government, Talent Land seeks to promote interest in the various technological areas to train specialists who can adapt to current and future jobs via more than 1,700 hours of content spread across seven "lands," or thematic areas.

Guillermo Santos, coordinating producer of Developer Land and the manager of the area where attendees develop computer solutions, told EFE that Talent Land was a space where the seeds of technological projects that young people would develop in the future were planted and grown.

"It's like the seedbed and the part where we make contact with important companies that at some point could generate a collaboration, some sponsorship or buy some of their projects," Santos said.

While the 2,500 coders participating in this "land" work on their own projects, they socialize and learn from experts.

Santos cited the case of a group of students who managed to create pots through 3D printing during previous Talent Land editions and later brought them to market after developing the project as participants.

Talent Land, which runs until Friday, expects to welcome thousands of young people of all ages at Expo Guadalajara, where they share a campground so they can attend all the activities and workshops that last until dawn.

Attendees can choose from a menu of training activities and competitions in different thematic areas.

In addition to Developer Land, Talent Land offers Creative Land, focused on design, multimedia and fashion; Business Land, focused on e-commerce, digital marketing and entrepreneurship; and Iron Land, focused on robotics, drones and Industry 4.0.

BlockChain Land seeks to promote cryptocurrencies and new forms of government and financial applications; in Gamer Land, young people develop eSports and virtual reality projects; and in Agro Land, which was included for the first time, the focus is on encouraging new generations to develop entrepreneurship and high impact businesses for the agricultural sector.

More than 2,000 companies are in Business Land, presenting new options for e-commerce and digital marketing to traditional companies, and there are special sections, such as the Startup Garden, where micro-companies seek partners to help develop products.

Jalisco Education Secretary Juan Carlos Flores told EFE that officials wanted to promote engineering and technology careers not only among young people, but also among children and teens.

This edition of Talent Land has a section called Recrea, offering workshops, lectures and seminars on robotics, exact sciences and programming and entrepreneurship that will be open to children for free.

"We want it to be that source that can awaken professional vocations. Jalisco, considered the Mexican Silicon Valley, has a shortage in the training of engineers and technology specialists and we know that we need a lot of talent. We hope that the children who attend will find careers that fit their interests," Flores said.

The activities include presentations by guests such as Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook's founder and the company's former marketing chief; Garri Kasparov, former world chess champion; Rossana Myers, co-founder and CEO of Carbon Robotics; and Rodolfo Neri, the first Mexican astronaut.

The world's largest Hackathon, offering 1 million pesos ($53,000) in prizes, will be held, giving young people an opportunity to develop projects and technological solutions based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

By Mariana Gonzalez