Nearshore Americas

Innovation Hotspots to Watch in Latin America

Within the last decade, technology and societal development have maintained a close complementary relationship. The evolution of technology has proved to be unstoppable and has created a generation where human beings are dependent on technological devices, such as smartphones and computers.

The technology market continues to grow, mainly thanks to the fact that large or international companies have attached great importance to the implementation of technology in internal processes. With greater use of technology, companies can increase the efficiency of their human and monetary resources.

Governments of practically every country across the world have seen the need to invest in their technological development, improving people’s quality of life, which in turn, improves their opportunities for growth and investment abroad.

Here are five Latin American countries that have made the greatest strides towards the adoption of technology.

Brazil

As described on the official website of Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the country has signed more than 40 bilateral cooperation agreements in science, technology, and innovation. This reveals their interest towards technology in various regional and multilateral mechanisms and forums. On top of that, elected government officials are driving the development of technology centers throughout the country.

Fintech in Brazil is booming. The country competes with Mexico for the largest fintech ecosystem in the region, reporting annual growth of up to 48%. Market observers report that Brazil’s government shows openness to the Internet of Things, and that global companies like Facebook selected Brazil as the destination for their first hub in Latin America. Additionally, Chinese investment in Brazilian startups reflect the economic giant’s willingness to use Brazil as a gateway into the region.

Brazil’s Ministry of Economy created a program called InovAtiva, dedicated exclusively to the acceleration of startups that operate in the country. In light of the global health pandemic, it announced support and financing programs.

Mexico

Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) is an institution that promotes, coordinates and articulates national scientific and technological projects to promote the development of basic science.

The country was the first in Latin America to implement a Fintech Law, which was passed in 2019. This law offers a robust regulatory framework for the rapidly developing financial technology scene. Since then, Mexico has developed one of the largest fintech ecosystems in Latin America, alongside Brazil.

These government initiatives seek to expand knowledge frontiers and associate it with the training of human resources, as well as expand and improve the quality of science and technology education.

For this reason, Mexico has undergone a high degree of technological development and has become a fruitful source for technology companies that, regardless of their size, wish to invest within the country. This is reflected in Amazon’s rapid expansion in the country and innovations to include unbanked or under-banked populations in e-commerce activities.

Colombia

Colombia’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies (MinTic) is in charge of designing, adopting, and promoting the policies, plans, programs and projects of the information and communications technologies sector.

Besides its capital Bogotá, Medellín is considered to be Colombia’s key hub for innovation. The city has garnered attention from the rest of the world for moving on from its violent history and becoming a hotspot for technological development and innovative practice. Medellín is home to Ruta N, a corporation created by the mayor of Medellín, UNE and EPM to promote innovation in the city. The corporation particularly supports knowledge-based initiatives of technology-based companies.

Greater investment in science, technology and innovation featured in President Iván Duque’s National Development Plan as a cornerstone for future development of the country and economy.

By managing the country’s technological innovation, MinTic provides the opportunity for small and medium-sized companies to compete for the execution of projects. MinTic also organizes initiatives for entrepreneurs who want to enter the sector.

Argentina

Argentina’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation is in charge of financing research related to technology and its application in society. This ministry provides growth opportunities for companies and startup entrepreneurs in the country.

Introduced in 2019, Argentina’s Knowledge Economy Law aimed to drive investment and increase jobs in knowledge-based business and innovation. In January 2020, this was put on hold. Government officials have unofficially said that this law may undergo some changes.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry launched a Program for Coordination and Federal Strengthening of Capacities in Science and Technology. This program seeks to control, prevent and monitor Covid-19 strategies. It also aims to strengthen provincial and municipal capacities to integrate knowledge, technological and social developments in decision-making processes.

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Peru

Peru’s National Council for Science, Technology and Technological Innovation was created to guide the actions of the state in the field of science and technology.

Peru’s Ministry of Production launched an initiative called StartUp Peru. Its aim is to provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to implement their initiatives and grow their business.

Innovate Peru’ is a program that has been operating for 12 years, whereby the government subsidizes or co-funds entrepreneurial ventures. Many of these ventures focus on technologies for business, health and other services.  As a result, many tech startups in Peru have grown and reached international markets. Beyond this, President Martin Vizcarra announced that there would be a substantial increase in the 2020 fiscal year budget for research, development, and innovation.

With all the technological advancements made by Latin American governments, the region can expect significant developments. Along with societal development, comes international growth and investment opportunities for companies. Even during COVID-19, there is optimism about Latin America’s economic outlook.

Craig Dempsey

Craig is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Biz Latin Hub Group. Craig holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, with honours, a Master’s Degree in Project Management and various other diplomas covering logistics, personal management and government administration. Craig is also a military veteran, having served as an Australian army officer on numerous overseas operations and is also a former mining executive with experience in various jurisdictions, including, Canada, Australia, Peru and Colombia.

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