Mexico and Canada are celebrating this year the 75th anniversary of their bilateral diplomatic relationship, which also includes economic, cultural and educational exchange. Despite the violence that has intensified in several areas of the Latin American country, due to the control of the drug route that is consumed in North America, Mexico remains among the preferred countries for doing business by Canadian businessmen.
This has helped the promotion of businesses carried out, among others, organizations such as LatAm Startups, which is directed by Colombian Miryam Lazarte and organizes both informative conferences in Toronto (meetups) and business trips to the main destinations to invest in Latin America.
At the last conference, entitled “Mexio in the spotlight!”, held in downtown Toronto, three specialists spoke about the Mexican technological ecosystem, while a Canadian businesswoman shared her experience in Mexico.
LatAm presented an economic profile of what Mexico means, a country of 112 million inhabitants: “being the second largest country at the geographical and economic level in Latin America, it presents itself as an influential player. It is an emerging market full of potential to become a great regional weight. When occupying the 11th position in the world, it is estimated that the Mexican economy will have a value of 2.4 billion dollars, an amount higher than that generated by Canada. Extremely open and porous, international trade is equivalent to 77 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is significantly higher than 23 percent in Brazil or even 48 percent in China. This emphasis on trade makes Mexico’s companies competitive worldwide”.
As the Mexican middle class grows, and Internet and banking penetrations increase, more and more technology entrepreneurs are starting their own business. Mexico currently ranks 32nd among 197 countries in the world due to the strength of its startup ecosystem, with which the business scene in Mexico is expanding rapidly, LatAm Startups added.
Mexico and Toronto
One of the panelists was Rodrigo Contreras, former director of the ProMéxico commercial office in Toronto – which was closed due to the austerity policy of the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador – and current business developer of the company Sericea Labs, who said before the assistants that to do business in Mexico it is necessary to “connect with people and make good relationships”.
Also spoke Verónica Richards, vice president of WWCalls Canada, who shared that the experience of 24 years as an entrepreneur in Mexico has been able to take advantage and repeat in Canada, where “now we help Canadian companies to do business in Mexico”.
He suggested that the best way to enter the Mexican market is to have a partner from that country, “someone who understands the Mexican market and opens the door to their foreign investment.” He added that it is very important to have a business plan and be clear about what is sought in the Mexican market.
Richards took advantage of his participation to clarify that “it is safe to go to Mexico, they can do business there. Violence is located in certain cities”.
The importance of contacts
For his part, Sara Rivera, until recently a member of the commercial representation of Ontario in Mexico City (based in the Canadian embassy) and who now lives in Toronto and will study a master’s degree at the University of Toronto, said it is important to contact people related to your Startup before traveling to Mexico.
Among the sectors that stand out as a possible destination for Canadian investments are: FinTech, that is, financial services that use the latest existing technology. In this regard, LatAm highlighted that the second largest FinTech sector in Latin America is in Mexico.
Another important sector is the so-called “Internet of things” (IoT), related to devices that interconnect with each other through the internet; energy sector; agricultural; e commerce; and health.
As Rodrigo Contreras said, another advantage of investing in Mexico is its geographical proximity, with a time difference of only one hour, compared to what it means to do business in India.
The word of FitIn
Catherine Chan, founder and president of the company FitIn, a platform that connects users in minutes with classes and trainers to exercise (fitness), shared her experience of having been part of the business tour organized by LatAm to Mexico, in Last June: “It was really amazing and absolutely informative. I feel I had a very good idea of how business is done when I was there. It was a very good introduction to the ecosystem and some key actors. I went to Monterrey after spending a few days in Mexico City, and I felt totally comfortable. Especially the sessions we did with LatAm Startups in Toronto before going to Mexico prepared me perfectly for the trip and gave me the confidence of being able to go there and not feel overwhelmed with what was happening”.
In this way and thanks to the promotion of businesses of organizations such as LatAm, Canadians continue to have confidence in investing in Mexico, taking advantage of the fact that the country is, together with the United States, Canada’s commercial partner in the trilateral treaty that with more than 24 years seeks to renew itself through the “new NAFTA”, which is about to be ratified by the congresses of the three countries.