Argentina and Chile are the two major Latin American markets that were part of the destinations chosen by Invest Pacific, the investment promotion agency of Valle del Cauca -southwest of Colombia-, for promoting the competitive advantages offered by this region in terms of technology and global services operations. All of this during a business mission that took place from September 5th to 16th, in both countries.
These business missions focused on promoting the services sector, which includes IT operations and development (data centers, cloud infrastructure, ITOs, software development, machine learning, artificial intelligence and data analysis) and BPO/KPO (contact centers in Spanish and English), outsourcing of specialized services, back office and consulting firms.
It is a booming industry that has seen extensive growth in recent years, to such an extent that Colombia has 11,101 software and IT services companies, which account for 15% of service exports nationwide. By 2020, reported sales are as high as $29 billion Colombian pesos, according to data from the Colombian Federation of the Software and IT Industry. Moreover, Valle del Cauca is home to 10% of these companies in Colombia, and in 2021 the companies that are part of the Digital Economy cluster of Cali and Valle del Cauca recorded $3 billion Colombian pesos in sales, according to the Cali Chamber of Commerce.
This mission was headed by Manolo Constaín, Invest Pacific’s investment manager. The first part was held in Chile, from the 5th to the 9th of September, where he held meetings with several businessmen in Santiago de Chile, and also participated in the 7th Latin American Congress of Technology and Business America Digital, the most important technology event in the region, in which there was a networking space with service companies. The second part was carried out in Argentina, from the 12th to the 16th of September, with visits to companies in Buenos Aires and Cordoba.
Both Argentina and Chile have 7.6 million dollars’ worth of direct investment in Cali (Valle del Cauca’s capital) thanks to three technology companies that are providing 560 jobs in the city. All this has made them attractive markets for the services sector, especially in technology.
Argentina has several technological ‘unicorns’ that have not only conquered Latin America but are also global references. Some of the Argentine companies in Cali are Globant and Patagonian. Chile also has a consolidated services and technology ecosystem with potential for expansion in the continent. Today, many technology companies operate in Cali, some of them from Chile. A recent one is Colegium, which brought its software development operation into the capital city of Valle del Cauca.
Why invest in Cali and Valle del Cauca?
This city-region is a internationalization. With more than 200 foreign-owned multinationals in different sectors, it accounts for 40% of Valle del Cauca’s exports and almost 20% of the region’s GDP. This is a strong and robust high-impact entrepreneurial fabric, complemented by the broad local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Currently, it hosts 808 companies, both national and international, all from the digital economy cluster. Of these, 27 specialize in service outsourcing operations and 26 are technology development companies, a favorable business environment providing confidence to operations in the services and technology sector.
Qualified and bilingual human talent is another feature of these operations. 26% of the region’s population is essentially young, with some 809,353 people between the ages of 18 and 34. The city’s value proposition is rounded out by a low-cost quality of life that will provide company employees with higher levels of satisfaction, in a market that offers one of the lowest saturation rates for the services and technology sector in the country.
These advantages are matched with the infrastructure and connectivity necessary to maintain highly demanding operations. It has a fairly stable internet connection, being directly connected to the Pacific submarine cable and to the national optical network. It has a Tier IV Data Center and is the headquarters of Zonamerica, the first and only multi-business and service free trade zone.
“Cali is a caring city, with a consolidated ecosystem for the sector, scale economies, availability of bilingual human talent at competitive costs, and an Investment Promotion Agency -Invest Pacific- that provides support for investors at all times, free of charge. We also have a broad knowledge ecosystem, made up of more than 30 higher education institutions, as well as renowned software development academies that contribute to the training of all this talent”, states Manolo Constain, Invest Pacific’s investment manager for the services sector, who lead this business mission.
This mission had the support of the Mayor’s Office of Cali, through the Department of Economic Development; as well as Zonamerica and ProColombia. Investment Manager “We hope that this investment attraction mission represents more business opportunities and economic development, as Cali continues to establish itself as a territory with great capabilities for innovation, development of technology operations and an extensive and qualified human resource”, said Liliana Sierra, Secretary of Economic Development of Cali.