I’ve been writing a blog series about doing business in Latin America and this is an excerpt of a post called Pura Vida: Pros and Cons of Doing Business in Costa Rica that I originally posted on my blog.
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.
Read the rest of my blog post about business opportunities and challenges in Costa Rica on my blog.
Guimar Vaca Sittic is an Argentine entrepreneur turned investor who specializes in marketplaces. Currently based in New York City, Guimar is a principal at FJ Labs.
This is an excerpt of a post in collaboration with Nadim Curi, the Uruguayan cofounder of CityCop and me about doing business in Uruguay. Thanks to Nadim for taking the time to help out with this post! You can read the entire post on my blog.
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.
Codie Sanchez is a finance professional from the US who has deep experience in Latin America. She started off as a journalist, but moved into finance and works with high net work individuals and family offices while angel investing and helping startups.
Santiago Zavala is a Mexican entrepreneur turned investor who now runs 500 Startups in Mexico City. He has a very cool story and sheds light into the Mexican startup scene.
This is an excerpt of a deep dive into the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Brazil that appeared originally on my blog, where you can read the entire article.
Brazil is the fifth largest country by area in the world and the second most populous in the Americas behind the United States, boasting a population of more than 200 million people. This population is largely middle class and based in urban environments, which creates a consistent demand for new goods and services, despite Brazil’s roller coaster economy, high regulations, seemingly endless political scandals, high taxes, and notoriously difficult business climate.
As one of the most challenging places to do business in the world, operating a business in Brazil is no easy feat. But for companies that do take the leap, capturing a piece of this incredibly large and tech-savvy consumer base can be the ultimate prize for anyone doing business in Latin America. There are many opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to generate Silicon Valley style returns for those who enjoy take risks and are willing to slog through Brazil’s ecosystem.
Here’s an overview of the current opportunities and challenges of doing business in Brazil today.
Originally from California, Brian Requarth cofounded VivaReal, the Zillow of Brazil, which he’s grown by raising more than $78M in venture capital that has more than 600 employees.
Sebastian Vidal is a Chilean who was part of the early Startup Chile team and later became its executive director. Now the director of Parallel 18, a similar program in Puerto Rico, Sebastian has worked with more than 1000 startups and shares his insights into what makes companies successful.
This post is an excerpt of a blog post that appeared on my personal blog with the title What Entrepreneurs Should Expect While Doing Business in Paraguay where you can read the entire post.
The landlocked country of Paraguay flies below the radar for many entrepreneurs and travelers alike. Home to 6.7 million people, Paraguay has a GDP of $27.44 billion as of 2016, representing 0.4% of the world economy. Minimum wage is 1,964,507 Guaranies per month, which comes out to roughly US$353. Paraguay is a major producer of hydroelectricity, and the Itaipú dam, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy, is on the Paraná river. Paraguay had the highest economic growth in South America from 1970 – 2013, averaging 7.2% per year, albeit from a low base. Paraguay has a moderate inflation rate of 5% on average and international reserves of 20% of GDP, twice the amount of the external national debt.
Paraguay is the second-largest producer of both stevia and tung oil in the world, as well as the sixth-largest producer of soybeans and corn. While unemployment remains low at roughly 4.9%, studies estimate that 30-40% of the population is poor, and in rural areas, 41.2% of the population lacks the monthly income to cover basic necessities.
Jason Grullón is the cofounder of Virtu, a sustainable fashion brand that produces most of its apparel in his native Dominican Republic. Please enjoy this episode of the Crossing Borders Podcast.