Innovations from Latin America: Examples from Zumba and Cisneros Group

Ivan Castano

Few brands encapsulate the spirit of Latin America like Zumba, the fitness group which has attracted millions of followers across the globe by championing the idea that exercise can be like partying.

Based in Florida, but with a truly Latin American spirit, the fitness and lifestyle brand was launched in 2001. Today, Zumba's classes are attended by 14 million people in 140,000 locations spanning 186 countries. And it is aiming is to have 100 million customers in the medium-to-long term, according to chief executive Alberto Perlman. He was previously an online entrepreneur before joining up with Beto Perez, the Colombian choreographer behind the exercise technique.

Perlman learned of Perez's work from his mother, who told him all about the unique gym sessions she had experienced. "When I arrived to the class, one thing struck me: everyone was smiling," Perlman recalled, while speaking at the Festival of Media Latin America, held in Miami in September 2013. "I thought: this is fitness without sacrifice."