The term International Business Strategy is typically used to describe U.S. or Western companies looking to maximize profits through offshoring or outsourcing, or extending their sales into foreign markets. But Andres Barreto is doing things in the opposite direction. He’s working to encourage Latin American startups to focus on the U.S. market and scale there, as well as encourage US companies to look to Latin America for the talented engineers and developers they need. But instead of outsourcing, they’re building integral startup teams in Latin America.
Costa Rica, literally “Rich Coast” in Spanish, is a fitting name for a country with diverse geography which ranges from tropical rainforests to vast oceanscapes. Five million people call Costa Rica home, and the official language is Spanish. Costa Rica’s GDP is US$74.9 billion with 72% attributed to imports and exports like coffee, sugar, and fruit. The average wage for Costa Ricans is about CRC654,059 (Costa Rican Colón) or US$1,150 per month.
Costa Rica is a prime location for entrepreneurs because of its proximity to the United States and because of its many free trade agreements. Its largest foreign investments come from the United States, which led to a 2016 marked a trade surplus of US$1.6 billion between Costa Rica and the US.
In the past few years, large tech companies like Amazon have invested in the Costa Rican market. One of the strong qualities of Costa Ricans, locally known as “Ticos,” is their literacy rate of 97.8%, The country has placed education as a top priority, and English is common among the young population. Continue reading…
With the success of huge marketplace companies like Amazon, it might be easy to think that new online marketplaces are not going to work out very well, but my guest on this episode has demonstrated over and over that it’s simply not the case. Guimar Vaca Sittic is an Argentinian entrepreneur who has built successful online marketplaces himself and who now is a venture parter at FJ Labs, which focuses primarily on US and international marketplaces. You’ll find his story and perspective very inspiring and helpful.
The small country of Uruguay, wedged between its two much larger neighbors, Argentina and Brazil, is home to 3.4 million people and has been on the forefront of many innovative reforms. Uruguay ranks first in Latin America for democracy, peace, lack of corruption, e-government, and press freedoms.
Despite it’s small size, Uruguay has a unique culture and interesting achievements that have inspired Uruguayans to believe that anything’s possible. This attitude may be best epitomized by its national soccer team, which has won two World Cups, two Olympic gold medals, and 15 Copa Americas (more than any other South American country).
Besides football, Uruguay has a great quality of life and was ranked first in Latin America in democracy, peace, lack of corruption, press freedom, size of the middle class and prosperity. Continue reading…