Global ideas from Latin America: Fernando Fischmann and Xavier Lopez Ancona are two Latin American businessmen who conquered the five continents with two of the region's most innovative ideas.

Author:Clavijo, Daniela

Fernando Fischmann is a Chilean biochemist and scientist; Mexican Xavier Lopez Ancona, a business administrator. By all appearances they have nothing in common. But both have managed to take their companies to the five continents because of their similar vision: opportunities do not arrive, they are created. Today their companies are iconic in the region's entrepreneur circles, and their billings run in the millions.

Fischmann is the founder of Crystal Lagoons, a Chilean company with a technology that is now patented in 190 countries. This allows for the development, installation and maintenance of turquoise blue crystalline artificial lagoons in unusual places that range from a real estate apartment complex to a city in a desert area.

Lopez Ancona has transformed the leisure industry for children by creating KidZania, a concept of amusement parks whose purpose is to combine education and entertainment with role-playing, in which children can practice, for a day, one of hundreds of professions, such as being a doctor or fashion designer, as well as learning about the operation of a city and how to manage money.


Eight years ago, Fischmann took a plane from Chile to Dubai. He was determined to see the CEO of Nackheel, one the largest real estate developer in the world. His plan was to show how the Crystal Lagoons technology worked.

For three days, Fischmann says, he sat in the executive's office, waiting until he got an appointment. "I showed him photos of my project and he told me: that is a photomontage because all artificial lagoons are dark," says Fischmann. Then the entrepreneur asked the CEO to open Google Earth to find San Alfonso del Mar, Chile, which was his first project, and for which he entered the Guinness World Records book in 2007 for the largest artificial lagoon in the world, with 19.7 acres of surface area.

That changed the CEO's way of thinking, according to Fischmann, and this was the international launching of Crystal Lagoons, which now has 600 projects at different stages of development in 60 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Spain, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Oman, Singapore and Thailand.

"At first, people told me what I wanted was impossible," he says. "It is a tremendous satisfaction to see it come true." The total Dubai project will need an investment of $7 billion. It is in the middle of the desert, and when it is finished in 2020, it will be the...

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