Entrepreneurship is an engine for economic growth. But according to different studies a substantive part of that contribution is explained by a specific segment of dynamic and knowledge based firms. In developing contexts –for instance in Latin America- the potential role of knowledge based new ventures is even greater. Industrial structure is based on the primary sector, traditional manufacture and, in some cases, industrial commodities. Knowledge based ventures could become a strong channel for economic and social change. But what are the main obstacles the entrepreneurs in knowledge based activities face? How do they overcome them? The aim of this paper is to identify and present the key factors affecting the process of emergence of knowledge based new ventures in selected Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile and El Salvador). The conceptual framework is based on a process approach focusing on three stages: inception, start up and early development. A common research methodology was applied to conduct the study in the selected countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile and El Salvador). The acquisition of the entrepreneurial competencies and vocation, the identification of the business opportunity, the access and mobilization of resources and the management of the venture during the first three years of existence are analyzed. Some findings of the research refer to the existence of structural weaknesses that inhibit the emergence of knowledge based ventures in Latin American countries. The firms created in this context have been able to start up and grow beyond those factors. Therefore the identification of the key aspects of their entrepreneurial process will provide interesting lessons for policy makers, universities and the entrepreneurs.