24 women and 4 men graduated from the program “From Zero to Hero: introduction to software development” where the American company Gorilla Logic, in alliance with the prestigious network Women Who Code Medellín carried out during 6 months.
The program was aimed primarily at women who are passionate about technology and want to orient their professional life towards this discipline even without previous experience. The application process to join the “From Zero to Hero” program in Medellin began in early February 2023, in which only 28 students were selected from among 100 applicants and at the end of August they graduated after completing the entire course that included face-to-face and virtual lectures and personalized support.
We share a video where we were able to capture the emotion of the moments lived in the graduation ceremony of the program.
ABOUT GORILLA LOGIC
Founded in 2002, Gorilla Logic provides Agile teams to Fortune 500 and SMB companies, bringing unmatched expertise in delivering mobile, web and cloud applications at enterprise scale. It has corporate headquarters in Colorado and more than 700 employees in four different locations: United States, Costa Rica, Colombia and Mexico. It is the first premier nearshore software development consultancy in LATAM.
ABOUT WOMEN WHO CODE
Women Who Code is a non-profit organization with a suite of programs for engineering professionals focused on developing their careers. Local chapters around the world organize technical, professional, educational and networking events, providing free tickets and scholarship opportunities for members through the weekly CODE Review newsletter, which also features career success stories of women in the industry.
Thanks to the international cooperation project, Alliance for Training, led by the AFOS Foundation, supported by the Colombian-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Medellín Chamber of Commerce for Antioquia and financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through Sequa, about 100 young people from the Department will be trained in the Dual Education modality, increasing employability and business competitiveness in the sectors of digital economy and tourism in Medellín and Antioquia.
The dual education system, successful in Germany, is a model in which the apprentice divides his time between the university, where he acquires theoretical knowledge, and the company, where he learns practical skills. The purpose is to close the gap between academia and the productive sector and increase the employability of young people.
To learn more about the impact of this project, we share the story of Dilbani Enriquez and Jaime Andrés, a married couple from Medellín, beneficiaries of this international cooperation program.
77 foreign companies in technology, life sciences, manufacturing and commerce, among others, have arrived in Medellín between 2020 and 2023, creating close to 13,000 quality jobs for people from all over the territory, representing $836 million in foreign investment. These companies arrived thanks to competitive costs, tax benefits, human talent and the quality of life offered by the District.
Companies such as Life Factors, N-iX, Sana Commerce, Concentrix, Genius Sports came to Medellin to contribute to the development of the Software Valley. Most of the installed companies come from the United States, Spain, France, Holland, Germany and Argentina.
“In the entity we intensify our international relations so that foreigners who come to the city bring development, knowledge and employment that dignify our talents and improve the quality of life of the people of Medellin. The positive balance in attracting foreign investment has required years of effort by ACI Medellin, with key support from entities such as ProColombia and Ruta N, with which we have exposed potential investors from around the world because Medellin is a great opportunity for their businesses to prosper,” said the executive director of ACI Medellin, Juan Camilo Mergesh.
Many executives from the companies’ countries of origin chose to stay in the city and in many cases brought their families with them, which in turn creates dynamism in the economy and favors interculturality.
“We came to Medellin attracted by the quality of Colombian engineers. Personally, I came to live in Medellin 10 years ago, working in other software companies where I met the quality, knowledge and desire to learn from the engineers here. I have been very happy because the people and the environment are unique. For the moment, the company seeks to continue growing and generating jobs and development for this city that has welcomed us with open arms,” said Håkan Ahlstedt, director of Nexer in Colombia, a Swedish technology company that arrived in the District in 2022.
This foreign investment is complemented by the positive figures that the city had with the arrival of international tourists. In the first half of this year, 674,493 were registered, that is, 13% more than in the same period of 2022, when there were 593,648, and 56% more if compared to the same period of 2019, making Medellín positioned in the world as a District open to the arrival of people from other countries who want to work and live in the city.
In international cooperation, the city has received 27 million dollars for the fulfillment of projects in education, culture, sports, health and social inclusion.
This recognition of the District at the global level meant that between 2020 and so far in 2023, 1.813 high-level international validators, including ambassadors, mayors, executives of large companies, ministers and senior government advisors, as well as 200 international journalists from media such as América Economía, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Telemundo and Univision, among others, who came to learn about projects such as the C4TA, the Software Valley Centers, the escalators in Commune 13, the metro system, cultural programs such as the Music Schools Network and the Buen Comienzo Gardens.
“I love Medellín for its climate; the people are also very friendly, the public spaces are clean and the people here have a great sense of belonging to the city. In addition, it is a very innovative city, very internationalized, although it retains its own flavor. Finally, I love that here there is a balance between green and natural, along with an organization around business and investment,” he said.
On October 5, the event Medellín and its International Allies will be held at Ruta N, where the most outstanding achievements of Medellín will be socialized before key members of the international community such as ambassadors, consuls, mayors, ministers and entrepreneurs, as was done in 2021, when projects such as the 80 Metro, Software Valley Centers and C4TA were presented to friends from all over the world.
This European company arrives to Medellín to offer software development services company focused on expanding companies’ engineering capabilities and developing products in software engineering, cloud services, data analytics, embedded software, IoT, machine learning and other technology domains.
During 2023, it expects to hire around 60 Colombian specialists, who will join its team of more than two thousand talents.
“N-iX’s expansion to Colombia gives us access to a highly skilled and fast-growing pool of IT talent that can benefit from the multiple possibilities and challenges we offer thanks to our broad client portfolio and our solid experience in software engineering solutions.
N-iX serves a number of global enterprises and Fortune 500 leaders, many of which are based in the U.S. “The presence in Colombia will allow the company to add even more value to new and existing partners”, says Erika Gutierrez, Head of N-iX Colombia. Also, we will create new opportunities for local talent by investing in local communities and bringing our global expertise to the region.”
Founded in 2002 in Ukraine, N-iX has formed strategic partnerships with a variety of global industry leaders and Fortune 500 companies, including Gogo, Fluke Corporation, Office Depot, Seeking Alpha, Saks Fifth Avenue, TuneIn, among others.
“We celebrate the arrival of N-iX in Colombia, which contributes to the objective outlined by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism to attract investment that fosters technology transfer and the development of human capabilities. Having global players such as N-iX is key to the consolidation of our country as one of the best environments in the region for technology-based services operations,” said Carmen Caballero, president of ProColombia.
“Human talent in technology is becoming the most valuable asset that our city has to attract technology companies that want to settle and expand their operations throughout the region. For this reason, today we celebrate the arrival of N-iX, a company that also saw in our territory the proximity to its key markets and a place with competitive costs that allow them to establish themselves and continue growing in the long term,” said Juan Camilo Mergesh, executive director of ACI Medellin.
For N-iX, Colombia is fast becoming one of the outstanding outsourcing hubs that combines maturity of business practices, cost-effectiveness, a large talent pool and geographic proximity to the US.
“Medellín and its inhabitants have a great opportunity for companies like N-iX to have local talent to link to their processes and the Ruta N team aims to help both the company and the young people of the city to connect so that, in this way, we allow the CTI ecosystem to grow and make Medellín a more competitive territory,” said Jorge Mario Calvo, executive director of Corporación Ruta N.
In the coming years, N-iX plans to scale its Latin American division within the 30% annual growth rate that the company has been demonstrating in recent years.
Solutions with artificial intelligence and research. These are some of the software and IT developments that the Swedish multinational Nexer, which decided to settle in Colombia because of the talent and quality of the work of Colombian engineers and developers, will carry out in the country.
The Swedish company, which has more than 2,800 experts in 15 countries in Europe and North America, settled in Medellin, from where it will support global customers with new technologies to offer next-generation IT solutions. “Being in Medellin is a natural step for us to fulfill our vision of a ‘promising future’ and make our customers more successful. This operation allows us to provide a customer-centric delivery model globally,” said Lars Kry, CEO of Nexer Group.
The provision of technological solutions through the implementation of artificial intelligence are part of the knowledge-based activities that the multinational Nexer will do from Colombia, which decided to settle in the country motivated by the talent and quality of work of Colombian engineers and developers. “The Colombian professional has a hallmark that characterizes him and differentiates him from any other in the world, and is that in addition to his training, he always has a willingness, proactivity, the desire to learn and advance, he is agile and passionate” defines Håkan Ahlstedt, Nexer’s manager for Colombia, the main reason that tipped the scales in favor of the country as the headquarters of operations in the region of the multinational.
The company has alliances with leading platform providers such as Microsoft, IBM and Stibo, and is part of the Danir Group, a Swedish firm with 12,000 employees in 18 countries.
It is now looking to hire about 30 professionals in Colombia, according to the demand for talent in scrum master, Java and DevOps positions, among others.
“Its arrival in the country accounts for the solid and growing software and technology services industry that Colombia has, with experience in the development of specialized solutions in different areas. Some examples are fintech, health, agribusiness, energy, logistics, digital marketing, virtual and augmented reality, and big data, segments that have allowed the arrival of various multinationals in cities such as Medellin, Bogota, Cali and Barranquilla,” said Carmen Caballero, president of ProColombia, the entity that supported the multinational’s arrival.
For Juan Camilo Mergesh, executive director of the ACI Medellín, “our city is now consolidated as a Software Valley and as a district of Science, Technology and Innovation where tax benefits, qualified talent and guarantees for growth are offered to international companies that settle in the territory. Receiving a globally recognized company like Nexer makes us feel proud and committed so that they can grow their operations and have the necessary talent to serve their customers globally”.
Colombia has positioned itself as the third largest software market in the region, preceded only by Brazil and Mexico, according to the global market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC). In fact, among the factors that have influenced the growth of the country’s IT segment is the boom in entrepreneurship and the arrival of new projects and foreign companies.
Between 2003 and 2022, foreign investment in the software and IT sector in Colombia has generated 299 projects, the creation of 259 companies, as well as the estimated creation of more than 24,200 jobs and capital flows of more than US$1,518 million. This is according to reports from FDI Markets. Antioquia, Cundinamarca, Valle del Cauca, Atlántico, and Bogotá have concentrated the largest number of initiatives coming from the United States, Spain, Argentina, Mexico and other markets.
As part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between both cities in 2022, more than 20 delegates from Chongqing, China, visited Medellin for two days with the objective of meeting with businessmen, leaders of public and private entities to strengthen economic, social and cultural development.
The delegation was led by Zhang Yuanhong, Deputy Secretary of Yuzhong District, Chongqing and six other officials from this Asian district as well as businessmen, who participated in a meeting with local businessmen and leaders of our district such as the Secretary of Economic Development of Medellin, Mauricio Valencia; the executive director of ACI Medellín, Juan Camilo Mergesh; the regional director of ProColombia Antioquia, María Luisa Duque; the former Colombian ambassador to China, Luis Diego Monsalve; and local businessmen interested in strengthening ties with this city of 30 million inhabitants.
For Juan Camilo Mergesh, executive director of ACI Medellin, “Chongqing’s vast experience in various fields, its technological development and its entrepreneurial spirit inspire and motivate us to learn and grow together. We are committed to take this opportunity to build bridges and establish a mutually beneficial relationship, promoting economic and social development in both territories”.
A year ago, we celebrated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two territories, an agreement that has provided us with a solid framework for strengthening our economic, cultural and commercial relations. The signing of this memorandum was a significant step towards fostering cooperation and the mutual exchange of knowledge and experiences towards a common future of social, technological, urban and cultural projection.
30 entrepreneurs from Argentina and 20 from Medellín participated in a business roundtable and a forum to reach trade and investment agreements between the two territories.
The agenda included the announcement of the creation of the Argentine Digital Hub in Colombia, which aims to promote the internationalization of the exportable supply of Argentine technology from Colombia to other countries in the region. In addition, as part of the agenda with businessmen, the opening of the Consulate General of Argentina in Medellin was highlighted.
The companies came from the provinces of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Mendoza, Santa Fe and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.
This positioning action seeks to promote high value-added innovation projects of Argentine companies in the software sector specialized in government, finance, education, health, cybersecurity, e-commerce and biotechnology, among others, and to generate greater business opportunities for Argentine companies through strategic alliances with their Colombian counterparts.
For the executive director of ICA Medellin, Juan Camilo Mergesh, “this important agenda with businessmen and members of the Argentine public sector becomes a very important step in the economic, cultural and diplomatic relationship of our District with this important country in the region, added to other important milestones announced this year, such as the opening of the Argentine Consulate General in our city, the participation as guest country in the Tango Festival and the Book Festival 2023, and the memorandum signed in 2022 with Buenos Aires”.
The agenda included a program of business meetings, work seminars and visits to companies and institutions of reference, such as Ruta N and Globant. More than 200 meetings were organized with 38 companies in Medellin, over 2 days, in order to promote exports of Argentine companies linked to the Knowledge Economy sectors.
The Ambassador of Argentina in Colombia, Gustavo Dzugala, said: “we accompanied 30 software technology companies and different areas of knowledge, in order to make contact with local companies to undertake joint projects. They come to seek partnerships and set up in Medellín, which is known as a technology hub and has many tools that would be very useful for them to develop their activities here”.
Previously, the Foreign Ministry’s trade intelligence teams detected opportunities for Argentina’s export offer, especially in specialized software in the government, finance, education, health, cybersecurity, e-commerce and biotechnology sectors, among others.
The general manager of the company Encode, from Argentina, Pablo Bonada, said that “the purpose of the trip to Medellin is to learn about all the business opportunities that can be generated by exchanges with the public and private sector of this city. In my company, we are dedicated to software development and we are digital signature certifiers; we are the first private certifiers in the country and we also want to transmit this experience in Medellín”.
The Colombian market represents for Argentine companies an attractive opportunity to generate international business given the advanced development of digital processes in the local economy and its strategic location for the provision of services to different markets.
During the trade mission, working groups on internationalization and exploration of opportunities in Bogota and Medellin were formed, and visits were made to the offices of two Argentine companies based in Colombia -Mercado Libre and Globant- which shared with the delegation their experience in the local Colombian market and its entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Between 2008 and 2022, foreign investment from Argentina has been 100 million dollars for the arrival of companies such as Globant, MercadoLibre, Ternium, Acamica and Tecso, among others, which saw in the city a territory with qualified human talent, competitive costs and a culture conducive to business expansion.
In 2023, the 200th anniversary of the Argentina-Colombia relationship will be celebrated, which is why it will be the guest country at the Tango Festival and the Book Festival, to be held in the second half of the year.
In cooperation, Medellín has had a total amount of US$400,000 between 2008 and so far in 2023, in actions related to governance and peace building, educational and cultural transformation, and economic development, among others. Most of these cooperation partnerships were with the city of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe, with exchanges of best practices under the South-South cooperation modality.
It is expected that with the announcement of the opening of the Consulate General, added to the participation of Argentina as a guest country at the Tango Festival and the Book Festival 2023, and the memorandum signed in 2022 with Buenos Aires, the cultural, commercial and tourism relationship with one of the most important countries in the continent will be further strengthened.
Since October 2021, this Jamaican company installed an innovation laboratory in Medellin to offer data science services in its different stages (descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive), reporting of financial indicators and operational performance with its due analytics, innovation through software development or process robotics.
For Leonardo Borges, Country Manager of the company, “Medellin is positioned as the innovation hub in the region and has the best human talent that combines excellent human skills, along with high demand technical skills such as data science. In addition, we found a good supply of people who are fluent in English, which allows for an ideal interaction with our headquarters in Jamaica and with our clients in the United States”.
The company operates in the United States, Jamaica, Honduras, Belize, Guyana, St. Lucia, and Colombia. In Medellín, the company currently employs around 30 people with profiles in engineering, learning and talent development, digital marketing and user experience.
For Juan Camilo Mergesh, executive director of ACI Medellin, “the arrival of a company like itel to our city, shows the added value we have to offer with a geographical location, time zone and qualified human talent and that are key reasons for companies around the world, especially in the technology sector, continue to prefer us”.
The geographic location, especially the proximity to the United States and other important economies such as Chile, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, the supply of qualified and bilingual human talent and the institutional support from ACI Medellin and Ruta N, are key factors for companies from all sectors to continue arriving year after year to set up their operations in our city and its metropolitan area.
Iván Castaño, director of Ruta N, assured that “we continue working to make Medellín the city where it is easiest to innovate, undertake and grow in the country. That is why the landing of companies like itel strengthen the ecosystem of Science, Technology and Innovation, contributing to economic growth and employability that generates quality of life. We are already supporting itel with talent connection strategies, coworking space in Ruta N, and access to training licenses in partnership with Udemy”.
With the presence of Colombian and Chinese businessmen, personalities from the public and diplomatic sectors of Medellin and Antioquia, the official opening event of the Colombian-Chinese Chamber of Investment and Commerce was held in our city with the aim of promoting trade and business relations between both territories.
For Ingrid Chaves, executive director of the Colombian-Chinese Chamber, “with this opening event we welcome all entrepreneurs and members of the productive sector to join the new headquarters of the Chamber in Medellin to share more of the culture, economy and development that China can offer to this city”.
This Colombian-Chinese institution was created in 2010 by the Colombian Pacific Foundation, the National Association of Colombian Businessmen (ANDI), the National Federation of Merchants (FENALCO), the Society of Farmers of Colombia (SAC), the Ambassador on Special Mission for Expo Shanghai 2010 and a distinguished group of businessmen, with the support of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Colombia, the Embassy of Colombia in China, as well as the National Government with the objective of bringing the territories closer together in commercial and economic matters.
For Juan Camilo Mergesh, executive director of ACI Medellin, “with the arrival of this binational entity, the relationship with a country that has been an ally in the development of the entire region is strengthened, and that in Medellin has bet from investment and cooperation in key commercial, political, academic, cultural and tourism points. Today we celebrate one more achievement within this relationship that recently left us another milestone as the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the city of Chongqing seeking to deepen strategies to become a Smart City and issues of sustainability and urbanism.”
With more than 40 years of diplomatic relations between both nations, several trade and cooperation agreements, today we can celebrate this new milestone for the attraction of Chinese companies to our region, as well as enhance the relationship that entrepreneurs from our city may have in this Asian giant.
In the last 10 years, Chinese investments in the city have reached a total amount of USD 182 million and the generation of 465 jobs from 8 investment projects. Likewise, the donation made by Shanghai and Chongqing of 16 thousand medical supplies including safety suits, masks and nitrile gloves in 2020 to face the Covid-19 pandemic is highlighted.
With this announcement we reiterate the good moment and the confidence that businessmen of the world have in Medellin as a pole of development, innovation and commercial and economic growth not only in Colombia but throughout the region.
This technology company has decided to start its expansion in the region from Medellin where they are forming a team of 10 people to serve the other countries of the continent.
For Juan Sarmiento, CEO and founder of TodoServy, “we moved to Medellin, because we are convinced that there is a great need for our platform and its benefits that will help local companies, professionals and workers to modernize their operations and be prepared to better serve their consumers; additionally, we can count on quality human talent in technology areas for the growth of our company.”
TodoServy works as a premium online directory to search, compare, comment, book and pay for services from local businesses and professionals; in short, to find any business or service they need with the right information and a universal and unified directory.
Juan Camilo Mergesh, executive director of ACI Medellín, affirms that “the arrival of TodoServy to our city is evidence of the good moment our city is going through in terms of economic development, offering companies from different sectors and countries the possibility of finding talent, competitive costs and a thriving city where doing business is part of the cultural DNA”.
The company’s growth plan aims to reach 50% of the entire operation from Medellín, surpassing Ecuador, its country of origin, and thus quickly reach markets throughout Colombia and other countries in the region.
For Iván Castaño, executive director of Ruta N, the arrival of Todoservy represents a great opportunity for the city: “It strengthens the Science, Technology, and Innovation District by offering a platform to connect local businesses and entrepreneurs with new clients. From the Corporation we are supporting them in connecting with the digital talent of Medellín”.
One of the main functionalities of the platform in both its free and premium versions is online scheduling, where end clients can easily check availability and schedule a service.
In the medium term, the company plans to open markets in Central America, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Paraguay and Venezuela, among others, operating the central level from Medellín and Ecuador with about 20 people who are now part of its main plant. Finally, businesses and entrepreneurs can access a free month of Todoservy’s premium plan in its launching stage.
Medellín has the best air connectivity in its history, thanks to the work done by the District Administration to promote new routes that expand the connection with the world. The city has 13 international routes to 19 cities and 29 domestic destinations with direct flights.
In 2022, the Antioquian capital had the best hotel occupancy in its history with 77%.
“One of the reasons why tourists from around the world prefer a destination is because of air connectivity; that is why we have worked to make it easier to reach the city, hand in hand with the private sector, working to connect us with more and more cities in the world. We went from 12 cities to 19; we are much more connected so that our tourists and businessmen can be linked to our offer and enjoy Medellín. In 2022 we had the best year in visits, an unprecedented figure, and in 2023 we expect more than 1,500,000 people to arrive,” said the Secretary of Economic Development, Mauricio Valencia.
The city has 13 international routes to 19 cities and 29 domestic destinations with direct flights.
The Antioquian capital recorded an increase of more than 45% of passengers since 2019 when there were 929,830; in 2020, in pandemic, there were 305,347; in 2021, the figure was 786,730, and last year, with a historic tourist reactivation, there were a total of 1,386,153 travelers. The 10 countries where visitors come from are the United States, Panama, Mexico, Peru, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Spain, Chile and Ecuador.
Medellin has 13 international routes to destinations such as Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Spain, United States, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Dominican Republic; 19 cities including Oranjestad, Balboa, Buenos Aires, Cancun, Curacao, Fort Lauderdale, Havana, Lima, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, New York, Orlando, Panama City, Punta Cana, San Jose, Santiago de Chile, Santo Domingo and Sao Paulo; and 18 airlines: Aeromexico, Air Europa, American, Arajet, Avianca, Copa, Easy, Ez air, Jet air, Jet Blue, Jetsmart, Latam, Sarpa, Satena, Spirit, Ultra, Viva and Wingo.
In addition, there are direct flights to 29 destinations in Colombia, including Arauca, Armenia, Bahía Solano, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, Carepa, Cartagena, Corozal, Cúcuta, Florencia, Ibagué, Manizales, Mompox, Montería, Neiva, Nuquí, Pasto, Pereira, Popayán, Quibdó, Riohacha, San Andrés, Santa Marta, Tolú, Valledupar, Villavicencio and Yopal.
“We have seen Colombia as a strategic partner. On this occasion we are talking about Medellín, one of the destinations that undoubtedly becomes a pillar for Arajet, since the Dominican Republic and Colombia have been building a commercial and tourism relationship. Now, with Arajet, we are uniting Santo Domingo with Medellín, which will contribute to culture, tourism and entrepreneurship”, said Arajet’s CEO, Víctor Pacheco.
According to the Annual Statistical Report of the Hotel and Tourism Association of Colombia (COTELCO), hotel occupancy in 2022 was the highest in the city’s history, at 77%, establishing that 53.1% of guests were foreigners and 46.9% nationals. The vast majority of passengers stay more than 4 nights in the city; 22.1 % of visitors stay between 4 and 5 nights; 21.1 % between 6 and 7 nights; 15.4 %, about 22 nights or more and 14.1 % stay between 14 and 21 nights. The remaining percentage stays between 1 and 3 nights.
In March, Avianca Airlines is expected to open a new route to Quito and Guayaquil, thus continuing to connect Medellín with the entire world and facilitating the arrival of more than 1,500,000 people by 2023.
This Monday, November 16, the President of the Republic, Gustavo Petro, sanctioned Law 2286 of 2023 that officially converts Medellin as the Special District of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia, which allows boosting the city as one of the cities with the highest economic performance in the region, positioning it at national and international level, having technology as the engine of transformation.
With the Law, the District of Medellín will grant tax exemptions for the promotion of science, technology and innovation activities to technology-based companies that settle in the city.
With this new law, Medellín is endowed with the competencies and legal resources to establish its political, administrative and fiscal regime, in addition to promoting its integral development by taking advantage of the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“This grants tax benefits to companies that are created or move to our territory to develop Software companies, technology companies. In addition, it provides more autonomy that will allow us to invest resources, with a CTeI fund, in education, social issues, health issues,” said the mayor of Medellin, Daniel Quintero Calle.
There will be direct access, without intermediaries, to international resources through International Cooperation.
In addition, the law authorizes the District Council to create the Pro-Innovation Stamp to finance the Science, Technology and Innovation System, at the initiative of the district mayor.
Medellín will now be able to define Special Treatment Zones to strengthen and facilitate all types of activities focused on Science, Technology and Innovation, enhancing sectors and seeking urban renewal, high accessibility, connectivity and reindustrialization.
“The law will allow us to advance in our great bet of Medellin Software Valley and that is making that, not only thousands of people study information technologies in the city, but even that many are moving to the city. That is why the invitation is: if you are a technology lover, this is your city; if you are a company and want to find the best place in Latin America to set up, Medellín is the right place because Everything Flourishes Here”, added the district governor.
Medellín will have more autonomy over the resources of the Nation in health and education issues, including procedures in the departmental entity.
In 2022, the Congress approved in the plenary session of the Senate the Organic Law, which regulated the functioning of the city as a Special District of Science, Technology and Innovation. Among other provisions is the renaming of local authorities from municipal to district, in addition to allowing the city to count on the participation of Innpulsa and the Ministries of Information Technology and Communications, Commerce, Industry and Tourism and Education for a direct articulation of the District Government with the National Government.
The US company opened its first Latin American office in Medellin to serve its clients in Europe and North America. In the short and medium term, they plan to have a team of 50 developers for Unity 3D, full-stack, backend, .NET, Automation QA, and provide other career opportunities for engineers in various projects.
Innovecs is a digital transformation company that creates solutions driven by innovative technologies and incorporates emerging trends to help businesses transform and grow; they create from scratch and customize the tools to make their products enterprise-scale.
The major reasons why they settled in Medellin are the abundant talent with great potential and attitude to work and a will to be part of international companies; the mastery of a second language such as English; the kind-heartedness and striving to work with people; the easy adaptation to rapidly changing environments in technology companies, and especially, the robust promotion of the IT talent training by governments and private organizations.
The development of a solid base of experts allowed Innovecs to transform from a team of several people to a trusted player in the software development industry, as well as to open offices in the United States, Europe, Israel, Ukraine, Australia, and now in Medellin.
Alex Lutskiy, the Founder and CEO of Innovecs, mentions that “the main driver of the company’s development is the community of 850 gifted team members worldwide who provide technology competency services to our clients, in addition to a specific organizational culture focused on the people’s well-being and a community-based ecosystem approach”.
For him, the Colombian IT sector proves itself in application development, game development, mobile application development, and other custom software products, which are closely aligned with the company’s services. “Colombia has one of the highest rates of engineering graduates in LATAM and also a booming technology scene with the fastest growing IT sector in Latin America”, — he says.
Finally, for Jonathan Ballesteros, director of Local and International Relations of ACI Medellin, “Innovecs belongs to foreign companies that are seeing our city as a strategic destination for installing their operations due to the abundant talent, strategic location, air connectivity and of course the warmness of our people. Apart from technology companies, businesses from other sectors such as infrastructure, commerce, and life sciences see this region as the epicenter of the operations at a local and international level.”
In its 20 years of existence, ACI Medellin has drawn over 200 enterprises and close to 3.5 billion dollars in investment with companies such as Farmatodo, Mercado Libre, Dollarcity, Pricesmart, Decathlon, Sofasa Renault, and many others. This reflects how the articulated collaboration between the public, private and academic sectors bears fruit for society.
* Photographs of work teams in other parts of the world
Johan Herrera, an inhabitant of the San Javier neighborhood in the Comuna 13 of Medellin, tells us how he became a Senior Developer at Endava, one of the most recognized technology companies worldwide, currently operating in Bogota, Medellin and Cali since 2016.
This company born in London, England in 2000, has more than 10 thousand employees worldwide, of which more than 1000 are in Colombia. These “Endavans”, as they call their employees, come to the company seduced by the good reputation of the company in addition to the training plans and support offered for their development.
For its innovation, technology, sustainability, governance and accessibility, Medellin is a leader and benchmark in the Americas for its management model for Smart Tourist Destinations, according to SEGITTUR, the Spanish entity that certifies this type of destinations worldwide. For this reason, the capital of Antioquia received the visit of a delegation composed of 20 delegates from Brazil belonging to the governmental, academic and business sectors, with the objective of learning, through knowledge transfer, the good practices of the city as a Smart Tourist Destination.
Between 2021 and 2022, Medellin has led more than 40 knowledge transfer sessions with cities in Colombia and other countries in the Americas.
The group learned about Medellín’s Smart Tourism certification process, its achievements and challenges. Also, they learned about tourism applications such as Medellín Travel (the official travel guide) and Medellín City Card (the digital passport for parks and attractions), and visited the Smart Tourism Center (first in the country).
“We are very pleased to be able to share with our friends from Brazil all the knowledge around what is the transformation of the smart tourism information system and what we have been doing to position Medellín as the first Smart Tourism Destination in Colombia,” said the Undersecretary of Tourism, Ledys López.
Between 2021 and 2022, more than 40 benchmarking sessions have been held, in which good practices were shared and knowledge was transferred to cities in Colombia and other countries in the Americas. In them, actions such as training focused on smart tourism destination, the stimulus program for sustainability, the reactivation of the tourism sector and the tourism culture strategy, among others, have been highlighted.
“I have come from Brazil to learn more about tourism development here in the city of Medellin. We came with the commission to learn how Medellin has formed a Smart City and a Smart Tourism Destination. I am looking forward to going back to Brazil with the good practices I am learning about here to put them into practice and turn them into projects in my province, Paraná, and in the south of Brazil, and develop smart tourism as they are doing here”, said Patricia Albanez, representative of the Brazilian Government.
About 65 entities have participated in the process of making Medellin the first Intelligent Tourism Destination in Colombia, including public, private, mixed, guilds and tourism service providers, which have provided information on the projects, programs and activities being developed.
The technology industry is currently accelerating economic growth and job development in the world. In Colombia, the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) GDP grew 10% during the second quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. Following that route, Medellin has moved forward with its “Medellin Software Valley” strategy, with which it seeks to become the epicenter city of this industry in Latin America.
Along with this article you can download the full report of the ACI Medellin and Technology by PageGroup in English. [ Here ]
According to the study “Medellin, capital of IT development in Latin America” conducted by the Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellin – ACI Medellin and Technology by PageGroup – Business Unit specialized in recruiting profiles for technology companies – the software and Information Technology (IT) services sector represents 6% of the total amount of foreign investment and has generated more than 10,800 jobs in the city, from 98 investment projects.
IT development in Medellín
Medellin is the only Colombian city recognized as a Special District of Science, Technology and Innovation (C.T.I. District), it is also home to the first Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4RI) in Latin America and has the Ruta N Innovation and Business Center, which leads the economic transformation of the territory towards knowledge-based businesses. The city also has the most ambitious public policy for Science, Technology and Innovation in Colombia, investing 2.45% of its GDP in STI activities.
According to the Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellin – ACI Medellin and Technology by PageGroup, the software and IT services sector represents 6% of the total amount of foreign investment and has generated more than 10,800 jobs in Medellin.
According to the ACI Medellín and Technology by PageGroup study, the type of activities and operations that IT services companies develop in the city are mainly based on: software development and provision of associated services (86%), data processing (7%), Fintech (4%) and Edtech (3%). In addition, the main countries investing in these services are the United States (49%) and to a lesser extent Spain, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay and the United Kingdom.
Medellin has the most ambitious public policy for Science, Technology and Innovation in the country, investing 2.45% of its GDP in STI activities.
In this sense, the investment projects that are installed in Medellin are mainly for nearshoring, or outsourcing, providing support to the companies’ current clients, as well as the establishment of strategic alliances with local companies or the establishment of their own operations for the development of new solutions in the Latin American market. Consequently, the training of human talent in hybrid skills and work methodologies such as agile are essential for the development of this sector.
In partnership with the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley and the Brazilian Consulate in Medellín, we organized a virtual event to present to Brazilian investors the advantages of the city and the metropolitan area for foreign investment before more than 40 attendees from 15 organizations.
Pablo Maturana, deputy director of cooperation of the Metropolitan Area presented the reasons and opportunities why investing in this region becomes a winning bet. The Metropolitan Area in its proposal for a sustainable future 2020-2023 for the region, aims to move towards a smart metropolis, in which comprehensive actions for sustainable development use innovation and the use of ICT as tools to increase the quality of life of the metropolitan inhabitants, under the principle of territorial solidarity. This proposal contemplates 27 programs and an investment of USD $ 431 million.
In summary, the following topics were discussed:
What does the territory offer for investment?
Basically 5 reasons: high economic performance and strong business fabric, excellent climate for doing business, a region connected to the world, abundant talent, an attractive place to live.
What differentiates our territory?
Sustainable mobility, environmental quality, biodiversity, Early Warning System – SIATA, strategic urban planning projects and security and coexistence.
A esta hora @Pablitomatu, subdirector de cooperación del @Areametropol presenta las oportunidades y ventajas que tienen los inversionistas brasileños en Medellín y el Área Metropolitana Del Valle de Aburrá.
Nearly 40 international fashion and trend journalists who came to the city on the occasion of Colombiamoda 2022 were able to take a close look at our city and witness the transformation into a Software Valley.
On Monday, August 25, prior to the start of the largest fashion fair in Colombia and one of the most recognized in the region, journalists came to Comuna 13 to visit the C4TA or Citadel for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Transformation of Learning. There they were received by Sapiencia, the Secretariat of Economic Development and Digital Innovation and the ACI Medellin, to show them one of the largest developments in the city.
While they visited the facilities of this modern center, they were explained the modalities of the courses that are being taught and the plans for medium and long term growth. Thanks to the Epica program of the Mayor’s Office and Avon, they were able to have a fair with entrepreneurs in the fashion sector and also have a cultural immersion in the Comuna 13 with the presentation of an urban dance show with Chota and eat empanadas, obleas, solteritas and the renowned mango biche and lemon popsicles.
To close the tour, Angel Simon Arango, a 23 year old young man from Comuna 13, and entrepreneur of a drone company, performed a drone show where he brought a banner with this year’s Colombiamoda slogan through the air, and where a jacket from the brand Reset Denim also arrived hanging from a drone and was received by its designer Hernan Alvarado.
The journalists left the C4TA amazed with everything they saw and especially with the drone show and the life story of Angel Simon, who since he was a child dreamed of becoming an aeronautical technician and thanks to the programs offered by the municipality was able to study and start his own company.
The following images show more details of this tour.
Mrs. Rocío Molina (76 years old), Mrs. Hercilia Gallego (72 years old) and Mrs. Mercelena Montoya (85 years old) found in Acalis the best option to improve their quality of life.
“Since I came here, my life has changed, I’ve been here for almost a year and I’m happy,” says Mrs. Rocío when she talks about how this center for the elderly improved her life.
Mrs. Rocio was widowed four years ago, despite her two children, she felt sad, depressed and lived very lonely. She decided to put her house up for sale and look for a home for the elderly. After a long searching, she found her corner of the world in Acalis, where she made new friends, dances, dresses up and says: “I am at home, here I do what I want, we have a great time because we have a group of six friends, so we have a great time”.
Acalis is a European-based company that has its main facilities in Santiago de Chile and is dedicated to the integral care of the elderly. It is a residential complex expressly designed and equipped for this population group, which is provided with specialized care services that include 24/7 nursing accompaniment, specialized nutrition, physical therapy and cognitive therapy.
In 2019, thanks to the market size of the region (600,000 potential clients in Antioquia), the supply of health services for this segment, the climate, the friendliness and service vocation of the people and the quality of life, they decided to settle in Medellín with an initial operation of 122 rooms in El Poblado neighborhood and an investment of USD 21 million.
The company currently generates 40 direct jobs, which they expect to increase to 100 with full occupancy. Precisely another reason why they chose to come to Medellín is the human talent with a high level in health services and medium-high level in hotel services. Their arrival in Colombia was supported by Procolombia and ACI Medellín, in terms of regional sector information and local relations, which facilitated their settlement in the city.
“I was tired of being a housewife. I had been living very well for 60 years, but the responsibilities of home exhausted me, I came to Acalis, where frankly they contemplate me, I eat very well, my children visit me, this is a delightful rest for me.”
Mrs. Mercelena Montoya (85 years old)
In this way, we see how foreign investment can change the lives of citizens, in this case of the elderly, in others it is the possibility of generating quality employment and more opportunities for all.
Medellín goza de una creciente reputación internacional como destino ideal para turismo e inversión extranjera; muestra de ello es el crecimiento constante de la llegada de nuevas aerolíneas y apertura de nuevas rutas aéreas en los aeropuertos de Medellín y Rionegro.
A mayo de 2022 tenemos 17 aerolíneas que conectan a nuestra región con el mundo, entre ellas se destacan, Viva, Latam, Avianca, Ultra, Wingo, Easy Fly, Sarpa, Jet Blue, Spirit, EZ Air, Air Europa, Aeroméxico, Viva Aerobus, American y Jet Smart, entre otras.
Estas aerolíneas cubren semanalmente 779 viajes nacionales, 198 internacionales desde Rionegro; y desde Medellín 296 viajes nacionales. Las nuevas rutas aéreas que se han abierto en los últimos dos años son Aruba por Sarpa y Wingo, Cancún con 3 aerolíneas y 17 viajes semanales, Curazao con 5 viajes y 3 aerolíneas, México con 22 viajes, Punta Cana 10 viajes, Santiago de Chile y Santo Domingo con 2, San José de Costa Rica con 3 y La Habana con un viaje. Estas nuevas rutas se suman a las ya existentes con Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Lima, Madrid, New York y Panamá.
Para Jonathan Ballesteros, director de relaciones locales e internacionales de la ACI Medellín, “nuestra región viene dando unos pasos gigantes para conectarnos con el mundo y así facilitar el posicionamiento y la llegada de inversión y turismo a la ciudad. Este hecho nos ha llevado también a ser reconocidos mundialmente como una de las ciudades preferidas por viajeros de todo el mundo tal como sucedió con el prestigioso Rankin Time Out 2022 de Reino Unido, donde quedamos en la tercera posición como la ciudad preferida del mundo.”
Recientemente, Viva abrió las rutas Medellín- Buenos Aires y Medellín- Sao Paulo; así mismo, Easy Fly abrió la ruta Paipa- Medellín con 3 viajes semanales y Wingo abrió la ruta Medellín- La Habana, lo cual se convierte en un hito para la ciudad siendo la primera vez que nos conectamos con dichas ciudades de América y con el departamento de Boyacá. Cada anuncio sirve para estrechar lazos culturales entre pueblos y ciudades hermanas donde se favorece el intercambio de inversión, turismo, buenas prácticas y por supuesto desarrollo económico para las regiones.
Esta conectividad aérea ha permitido que entre 2020 y lo que llevamos 2022 se haya reportado USD $ 653 millones en más de 50 empresas que decidieron invertir o reinvertir en nuestra ciudad gracias a factores claves que nos diferencian de otras como son: el talento humano, la cultura, el desarrollo urbano, y la conectividad aérea que facilita la cercanía con Norte América, Europa y Sur América.
Como parte de la apertura de la nueva ruta a Buenos Aires, dos silleteros de Santa Elena, visitaron dicha ciudad para promocionar la Feria de las Flores que se realizará del 5 al 15 de agosto. Esta misión que involucró a la Secretaría de Cultura y Desarrollo Económico, al Bureau Medellín y al Despacho de la Gestora Social buscará incrementar la llegada de nuevos turistas e inversionistas argentinos que en los últimos 5 años han sido 32.000 los que han llegado a la capital antioqueña.
La apertura de todas estas nuevas rutas, han favorecido el aumento del ingreso de turistas en lo que llevamos este año; de acuerdo con reportes del Observatorio Turístico de Medellín, entre enero y mayo de 2022 se registraron 472.826 viajeros que pasaron por el Punto de Control Migratorio del Aeropuerto José María Córdova, lo que representa un 38 % de crecimiento, comparado con el mismo periodo de 2019.
De esta manera, la conectividad aérea se convierte en un factor fundamental para la dinamización de la economía en nuestra región, favoreciendo procesos de inversión y cooperación que se llevan adelante con países de todo el mundo y que gracias a una mayor cercanía, ahora se puede viajar de forma más ágil y económica.
It’s Concentrix, a company that will generate around 100 jobs per month until the end of 2022 and more than 1,500 additional vacancies in 2023. This North American company, with a workforce of 290,000 people in 40 countries, will hire 120 people from Medellín to start operations.
With the arrival of Concentrix, Medellín reaffirms itself as an attractive city for investors. This North American BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), created in 1983 and headquartered in California, is expected to generate 600 jobs in the capital of Antioquia this year and an additional 1,500 in 2023.
Twenty service outsourcing companies have set up in the city with an investment of US$85 million and have generated close to 4,000 direct jobs.
The figures add to those of other service outsourcing companies such as One Link, Teleperformance, UPS and Grupo Konecta, which generate quality employment.
ATTENTION: Medellin will be the center of business operations of @Concentrix, the second largest outsourcing company in the world.
“In Medellín we are very happy with the arrival of Concentrix, one of the largest companies in the world in the BPO sector. This North American capital company will generate 600 new jobs this year, and they have a projection for 2023 of 1,500 new jobs. This is a great opportunity for hundreds of young people in Medellin and is the confidence that has been generated in recent years in a city where flourishing is possible.”, said Jonathan Ballesteros, director of Local and International Relations of The ACI Medellín.
To apply for any of the company’s vacancies, applicants must have an advanced level of English and live in Medellin or the metropolitan area. More information is available at the following link [ here ]
“From Ruta N we are very happy to announce the arrival of Concentrix to the city, which together with our attraction team continues to show the world all the possibilities that large companies have to grow in Medellin with talent, with investment and with our whole network of institutions in this ecosystem of science, technology and innovation. We will continue to open programs so that Medellin’s talent is linked to all these global companies to generate value.” said Ruta N’s operations director, Rubén Villegas.
The company will set up operations in Ciudad del Rio and will work with hundreds of customers around the world.
“We chose Medellin because it’s the innovation center of Colombia, in addition to its talent and willingness to provide an excellent customer service experience; we came to contribute to the socioeconomic growth of this city by joining the technological and digital development that characterizes the capital of Antioquia” said Concentrix’s country manager in Colombia, Clara María Bernal.
This local opening of operations is the result of a positive balance during the first quarter of the year, as it achieved revenues of US$1,536 million, or 13% more than in the same period of 2021.
The ACI Medellin is advancing strategies to promote the capital of Antioquia to potential investors around the world. An example of this is Why Medellín, which between 2020 and 2022 has generated 12 virtual and face-to-face events with businessmen from Chile, France, Spain, the United States and Mexico, among others.
In addition, a project bank was launched this year to connect investors from all over the world with local companies that need foreign resources to develop high impact proposals, both in the public and private sectors. Information about this bank and the requirements to apply for it can be found [ here ]
With pride, the ACI Medellín received a special recognition from CCI France Colombia and its general director, Pedro Valero, for its 20 years of experience. He highlighted that the work between the two entities and especially between Medellín and France has been essential in raising cooperation and investment resources that allow the growth and development of our territory.
This is an honorable recognition for so many citizens who have benefited directly and indirectly from the projects in which international cooperation and investment have been present thanks to the Agency’s management.
With approximately USD 500 million in investment and USD 2.5 million in cooperation, France has one of the best relationships with Medellín. Companies such as Renault Sofasa, Grupo Éxito, Decathlon and Poma are some of the most outstanding companies that have arrived in the territory.
French companies in Colombia invoice more than 20 billion euros per year and generate more than 120 thousand direct jobs.
In the 20 years of its history, the entity has managed 21 foreign direct investment projects with France that represent an investment amount of 496.17 million dollars, of which 51.40% are focused on investments in the manufacturing sector and 41.98% in the commerce sector.
Likewise, the city has received more than USD 2.5 million in cooperation, for projects focused on sustainable mobility, environment and biodiversity, urban planning and culture. One of the works that stands out the most in the city thanks to cooperation resources was the Ayacucho Tramway. The French Development Agency (AFD) managed to finance a large part of this project.
For Jonathan Ballesteros, director of Local and International Relations of the ACI Medellín, “the relationship with France and specifically with the French Chamber of Commerce is a strategic issue for the entire city, because, thanks to the companies and resources achieved through cooperation, we’ve managed to generate jobs for thousands of people and carry out projects that have led the way towards our dream of a Medellín of the Future.”
Pedro Valero, general director of CCI France also stated: “It’s essential for our entity to have allies in supporting the attraction of investment to the country and to Medellín; For this reason, the ACI Medellin is a strategic actor in the development of relations between France and the city due to its knowledge, experience and access to the key actors in Medellín”.
Currently, French companies are interested in participating in large projects in the city and region, such as Puerto Antioquia and the 80th Avenue Metro Line, considering the impeccable track record that companies such as Poma, GreenYellow and Alstom have delivered for projects such as the tramway, Metro cables and generation of renewable energy.
María Nazaret and Jesús Enrique don’t know eachother personally, but they both have something in common: they have been beneffitted by the Barcelona Solidaria program; the former as a homeless person, and the latter as a farmer in the Santa Elena township. They are part of the 13 programs and projects of our city that, since 2020, have recieves about 1,1 million euros from international cooperation.
Jesús Enrique is one of the 25 food producers of the Rutas de Siembra project that seeks to strengthen plot productivity, promote the circular economy and provide associative, community, business and environmental support.
25 farmers from Santa Elena benefit from the cooperation with Barcelona for production, marketing and environmental awareness in food cultivation.
His farm is located near the Arví Metrocable station, a route well known by thousands of tourists that each weekend, come to this township to experience nature at its finest. “Don Jesus’s Farm” as known by most of his neighbors, is filled with color, thanks to all the fruit and vegetables sowed there. Tomatos of all shapes, colors and sizes, lettuce, rosemary kale and cabbage are just some of the products grown by this kind and friendly man.
“The Rutas de Siembra project has helped us with marketing, they’ve provided training sessions on selling, focused on tourism and agriculture, to attend the community’s needs and produce cleanly and organically” says Jesús when reffering to this project that has access to more than 500 million pesos in cooperation resources managed by the NGO “Antioqueños Unidos in Catalonia for Colombia” and executed by Comfenalco.
For Maryori Londoño, Township manager of Medellín, “From the Management we’ve helped with guarantees as well as with the achievement and accompaniment of the producers that this project has helped. Through Rutas de Siembra, it has been possible to train and educate 25 producers located around the Comfenalco Hotel and its surrounding area, and in this process they’ve also been provided with the creation of access routes to commercialize their products in the Arví market and with the hotel also buying their products”.
María Nazaret, is part of another project benefitted from cooperation with Barcelona. She is a homeless woman that, alongside of her dog, Lulo, who she considers her child, lives paralel to the Medellín River in the Minorista sector of the city. Each weekend, they’re visited by workers for the Surgir Corporation, that provide them with toiletry kits, as well as with information and education regarding personal care and wellbeing, to reduce damaged caused by drug consumption; but most improtantly, they provide them with a space where they can be heard.
The Barcelona ABD foundation and the Surgir Corporation, with the support of the MAyor’s office of Medellín, has retaken the Listening Centers project, to strengthen the work focused on harm reduction from drug consumption through practices that can help the homeless to take awareness of their health.
Walking through the are surrounding the river, where hundreds of people affected by homelessness live, is now a task being accompanied by the international community, who consider that a homeless person is an important part of society are therefore, we must work towards their wellbeing, understand the path that led them to where they are and, most importantly, dignify their day to day lives.
More than 500 homeless inhabitants of Medellin have been accompanied by professionals that are helping them mitigate damage caused by drug consumption.
For Jonathan Ballesteros, director of Local and International Relations of the ACI Medellin “During the validity of the Medellin Futuro Development Plan, the ACI Medellin in alliance with other secretariats and entities of the local government have managed and supported 13 projects that have a direct impact on social and rural development strategies; these projects add up to 1.1 million euros and it is a clear sign that Medellín is one of the great centers of international cooperation in Latin America”.
Since 2006, Medellín has addep up 1,8 million euros in cooperation with Barcelona, with projects focused on culture, urban planning, infants, youth and women, among others.
This shows clear evidence that the relationship between Medellin and Barcelona is passing through one of its best moments, thanks to alliances for development, managed by the private and local sectors and reaching some of the most vulnerable populations.
“This is not our arrival, but a blast off into an exciting new future. The great success over the last years and the rapid growth in business functions serving now multiple regions has proved that we can do a lot more from our main Latin-America Hub here in Medellín.” says Joep Beliën, Country Head of Sana Commerce LATAM, talking about the reasons that have made them choose and continue to grow in Medellin.
Sana Commerce is a Dutch company founded in 1992 that arrived in Medellín in 2018 with the objective to explore the possibility of offering their services to Latin-, and North-America from this city; however, they did not think that their growth would be so fast and that they would find all the institutional support and specialized talent they needed with such success.
For this reason, they have decided to open a new Latin-America headquarters to house the current 42 employees, and the 20+ employees that they are expecting to add to the team this year (that is a 100% growth in 2022 in total). “The talent together with our unique culture at Sana Commerce are our biggest drivers of our success” says Joep Beliën, “This new office is not only a symbol of our success in the past, but also an enabler of our culture in the future. We ask everyone to come in at least 2 days a week, but many come in more. It’s a place to work, it has places to relax, and we really connect with each other. That’s how we overcome even the greatest challenges”.
Jonathan Ballesteros, Director of Local and International Relations of ACI Medellin, says that “Sana Commerce is the example of a company that not only chooses to come to Medellin, but also finds all the support from institutions such as ACI Medellin, Ruta N and ProColombia to continue growing and expanding its operations”.
They currently have complete operational departments in Medellin for Software Development (.NET + ERP developers), Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, Project managers, Consultants, Product Specialists, Customer Support and corporate functions HR, Recruitment and Finance – Serving both the North-, and Latin-American region.
For Joep Belien, “We settled here because of Medellín’s’ focus on IT and engineering education, the startup environment, the entrepreneurship and the supportive government and business environment. The Sana Medellin office has not only grown in terms of team size, but also in terms of roles. In addition to a sharp increase in the size of the commercial and delivery organization for the Americas, business support functions such as HR, Recruitment and Finance are now also based here. In addition to that, we’re looking to drive new business development in North-America from here in Medellín, next to the existing sales we already manage from here for Latin-America.”
Carlos Jaramillo, Manager of the Talent and Employability Portfolio of Ruta N, assures that “Sana Commerce is a success case of Ruta N’s landing program where we facilitate the landing of companies in the city. This demonstrates the importance of continuing to create value from our proposal of talent, networks, workspaces and connection with digital services in Medellin, articulated with the ACI Medellin and ProColombia”.
Sana Commerce Medellin serves an increasing number of clients in the North-, and Latin American time zone, works closely together with the New York City office and gets the support to keep this growth going. “We are one of the fastest growing regions globally”, concluded Beliën.
Thanks to an alliance between the Mayor’s Office of Medellín and LinkedIn-Microsoft, 25,000 training fellowships on topics related to 4.0 Industries, will be delivered to citizens through the Talent Industry program that seeks to develop the skills of the city’s residents and form them for jobs of the future with the goal of increasing labor insertion in different áreas of the technology sectors.
Registration is now open and will be until quotas are filled. Citizens between the ages of 16 and 59 can participate by registering at: inscripciones.medellindigital.gov.co
The 11 training paths include: data analysis, software engineering and analysis, UX, e-commerce, site design, and many others. Those who wish to participate must live in Medellín, be between 16 and 59 years old, have a high school, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree, among some other requirements that can be found at inscripciones.medellindigital.gov.co. The registration process must be completed at this website starting this Tuesday, March 22nd.
“From the Mayor’s Office of Medellín, we are investing all we have all in our young population, because we believe in you, and we’re convinced that every cent invested is worth it. The education that we are delivering today will build the society we wish to have and because of this, we invite you all to participate and benefit from this opportunity” said Mayor Daniel Quintero Calle.
This program is possible thanks to the Reentrenamiento Pertinente (Relevant Retraining) strategic project, led by the Secretariat for Economic Development and Sapiencia. This project has the goal of training up to 50.000 talents in topics related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Up until now, the project has already delivered 20.000 fellowships. The goal for 2022 is to deliver more than 30.000, among which are found Linkedin courses and routes for specialized talent.
“Many opportunities are beginning to converge in Medellin, we’ve began to see the private sector beginning to grow in terms of technology, influencing companies such as Microsoft and LinkedIn to begin to look at Medellin and its potential for growth in its region (…) We’ve seen a great trend in software engineers and people working on technology, data and artificial intelligence issues. This shows the great value and potential that the city has”, said Mickael Martiquet Remy, Public Sector Lead – LinkedIn for Latin America and the Caribbean.
In addition, during the launch event, five students from some of the city’s educational institutions, who are currently in their last years of high school and finishing technical/associates degrees in topics related to new technologies, were appointed as ambassadors of the call with the intention of promoting enrollment for this opportunity in schools.
According to a study by the World Economic Forum, by 2025 it is projected that 85 million jobs will disappear, but, in turn, due to the acceleration of technological change, 97 million new jobs will be created.
Given this scenario, the Local Administration is participating in strategic alliances with companies such as LinkedIn, a very useful tool for engaging companies and their workforces. It is part of Microsoft, one of the most important multinationals in the technology sector in the world, and in addition to this, it’s a social network that has 575 million users, 260 million of them active; 10 million of these active Linkedin users are in Colombia.
“This talent war is our opportunity to offer a unique opportunity to our youth and the future generations in Medellin, so that through the innate talent they already have, they can train it and attract companies to invest in advanced digital service centers and research centers. and development to finish consolidating and turning Medellín into a Software Valley”, said Javier Galvis, Microsoft’s General Manager.
This company conducted a market study in which they found that technology-based jobs that have the higher demands in Medellín are: software engineer, technology salesperson, technical leader, data scientist, software leader and project developer, UX designer, among others. This diagnosis inspired the program’s offer.
The agreement is achieved at a time of transformation for the city’s vocation, led by the Mayor’s Office of Medellín, and with an investment of $1,584 million. This, in its purpose to consolidate the city as a Software Valley, performs strategies that generate new opportunities for the population and labor investment in jobs that are based on the use of new technologies.
With a projection of investment in Colombia of close to a million dollars by 2023, FreshWorks Studio opens its software development and digital solutions office in Medellín. This Canadian company which began operations in Medellin in January 2022, with most than 100 members currently on their team from around the world and plan to have at least 250 people, in about three years, working to offer innovative solutions to different companies.
Some of the reasons why FreshWorks Studio chose Medellín were the city’s human talent, the positive diplomatic and commercial relations between Canada and Colombia, a integrated and compatible time zone, ease in intercultural work, geographic proximity and good air connection between both countries, among others.
For Abhas Srivastava, FreshWorks Studio’s Country Manager for Latin America “The talented people we’ve met here so far are exactly the kind of collaborators we need to help grow our team. Colombia is a rising star in the global technology industry, and we are excited to add our offices in Medellín and Bogotá to contribute to this growth”.
Colombia and Medellin are now recognized as technological centers with great international projection thanks to their competitive costs, quality higher education and their people’s talent and professionalism.
For Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia, “FreshWorks Studio’s decision to open its first international office in Medellín ratifies the country’s potential as an export platform for technological solutions and services for the region and the world. We are very pleased with this vote of confidence, that will contribute to the growth and development of our talent and the IT sector in Colombia”.
Eleonora Betancur, executive director of the ACI Medellín, says that “The city is open to companies from around the world that want to continue growing and offering their services from this Software Valley. Additionally, today more than ever, universities and educational institutions are aware of the need to train our youth and form them into valuable professionals for all local and international companies wanting to project themselves, from Medellín, to the entire world”.
For its landing in the city, FreshWorks Studio also had the support of Ruta N, which will now be the entity in charge of connecting the Canadian company with the best of local IT talent.
All services and lines of business will be managed from Colombia; this includes project management, consulting, UX/UI design, software development, and web and mobile application testing.
FreshWorks Studio topped “Clutch” Leaders Matrix which showcases the top companies in Canada’s app development market in 2022; they’ve also been recognized as the Top Canadian B2B Leader in 2022 on Clutch.co
They currently have different vacancies open for developers and other technology professionals in Colombia. See all the options at: [ here ]
A total of 22 foreign investment projects were reported by the ACI Medellín in 2021, which represented more than 20 million dollars, and around 3.700 new Jobs will be generated thanks to the territory’s foreign investment management.
Since 2008, the ACI Medellín managed a total of $8.2 billion pesos in raising cooperation resources and attracting investment resources, improving the quality of life of citizens with the creation of new jobs and an economic benefit that It is reflected in different economic sectors.
The figure reported by the ACI Medellín is part of a set of actions to attract investment and cooperation management that have been key for economic reactivation.
For Eleonora Betancur, executive director of the ACI Medellín, “2021 became a year set on recovering hope and seeing the economic reactivation that our city had thanks to the union of all of society’s actors. The investment and cooperation were fundamental allies for creating new job opportunities and to dynamize the economy, injecting capital and guaranteeing that all our citizens can continue bettering their quality of life after so many months of isolation and economic recession due to the pandemic”.
“Medellin and its international allies”, was an event of hope for the whole city, as it took place in person, gathering more than 300 international guests and more than 1.300 visitors to the city. 53 projects from 28 secretariats and entities of the public conglomerate were presented in a project fair that brought together ambassadors, binational chambers, investment funds and mayors from different cities around the country and the world, to side along the entities of our public conglomerate to initiate relations that’ll allow the attraction of cooperation and investment Medellín.
The “Conexión sin Fronteras” program (Connection without Borders) became a successful medium to attract paisas and Colombians that live abroad to contribute with their knowledge, to citizens, businesses, and entities in Medellin. 60 talents connected from more than 15 counties to develop chats about technology, creative industries, bilingualism, exportations, migratory processes, urbanism and informatic security, among others, allowing many people to benefit from this knowledge for free and close to their needs.
This management done by the entity through international relations has a direct impact on the city’s development and can be seen in the Return on Investment (ROI) indicator, which indicated that, for each peso that enters the ACI Medellín budget, $16 pesos are managed in cooperation and $420 pesos in investment, in addition to the results that are not accounted for in financial resources, but rather in job creation, for example.
The management that the agency performs for the coming of new cooperation and investment projects to the city starts from the identification of countries, businesses, public or private entities, international networks, among others, that are interested in working with Medellín or, in the case of investors, installing their businesses in the territory.
Once the investment or cooperation project is installed, the resources are used to build the necessary infrastructure for its operation, the hiring of personnel and the arrival of people from other countries who will come to live alone or with their families, which stimulates tourism, housing, education, transportation, food, among other sectors.
Ambassadors from Sweden, Israel, Denmark, Spain, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Dominican Republic, in addition to mayors from Mexico, Ecuador and Peru, among others, where some of the guests attracted by the event “Medellín and its International Allies”, that ended with the assistance of 1.600 people, an economic spill of more than 60 thousand dollars and the generation of more than 300 jobs during its montage in Plaza Mayor.
Representatives from 36 countries joined entities from the city’s Public Cluster to initiate relations that will allow the attraction of cooperation and investment.
This opportunity to show the world projects from the Medellin Futuro Development Plan transformed into the proper context to give place to strategic alliances. During the event, more than 200 opportunities for investment and cooperation were achieved, that emerged from the meetings where specific interests were ratified to continue in conversation with strategic actors.
The 300 national and international guests left an economic spill of 60 thousand dollars in two days. 1.600 people assisted the event and 300 jobs were generated.
According to the executive director of de ACI Medellín, Eleonora Betancur, ”Medellín and its International Allies” met two fundamental goals: positioning the city’s image and creating alliances with the world for its transformation.
“Now more than ever, we realize that many cities want to know our model and replicate it in their regions to advance in the way that Medellín has. This event has made it clear to us that Medellín is a model for the world and that people want to know about our good practices, allowing us to position ourselves as an innovative territory in the world.”, said the director.
The Software Valley Centers had eight meeting programmed beforehand, that brough up the possibility of transferring knowledge to cities in countries such as México, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil Bolivia and Korea, and also some Colombian cities, so they can replicate the model of the Centers and therefore create a network that will allow the continuous bettering of this strategy created for the Medellín Futuro Development Plan.
András Beck, head of mission and consul of the Hungarian Embassy in Colombia, stressed that “the image that the world has of Medellín is of a city that has taken an impressive step, I don’t know of another city that has changed so much in such a short time; this is a very tangible reality in all the streets and people”.
On this same line, Ruta N met with the German Agency for International Cooperation- GIZ, where they proposed bringing Colombians who live in Germany to mentor businesspeople from the creative and cultural sectors through the Ruta Naranja project.
The Mobility Secretariat, after a meeting with representatives from the Czech Republic Embassy, received an invitation to visit Prague, with the intention of training on the city’s e public transport planning system, one of the most successful internationally.
“In matters of technology and innovation we find a very natural alliance, not limited to projects, a strategic alliance. Here in Medellín people have a fixed vision of where they want to go and, in that sense, we share that vision and talent, ”said Israel’s ambassador to Colombia, Christian Cantor.
The 80th Avenue Metro project had 14 meeting with ambassadors from Sweden, Israel, El Salvador, with three international investment funds, the Japanese cooperation agency JICA and the Korean Trade and Investment Agency – Kotra, among others, from which short-term possibilities for technical cooperation emerged, with which the personnel of this project will be trained in aspects necessary for its execution.
The opening of the ICLEI city network office in Medellín was also made official, as well as the donation of a mural by the Danish Embassy in Colombia, located in downtown Medellín next to the San Antonio Metro station, and the signing of a letter of intent with the Swedish Embassy in Colombia to strengthen collaboration and knowledge exchange on issues regarding smart cities, circular economy and gender equality.
Finally, the visitors took a tour of different parts of Medellín using public transport (Metro and Tram), including the Paseo Bolívar, Salon Málaga and the eastern part of the city where the Olympic BMX medalists were recently honored, and a mural was delivered as thanks to the trajectory of Mariana Pajón.
Medellin is heading towards a path of economical reactivation and recovery through this pandemic. To do so, foreign investment has become a key factor in energizing the economy by receiving 542 million dollars between 2020 and 2021, favoring new job positions and strengthening the local industry’s value chain.
It’s expected that 2.872 jobs are generated, mainly in technology, infrastructure and logistics, life sciences and agri-foods.
This achievement in foreign investment has been met thanks to, among other things, the articulation led by the ACI Medellín with local and national actors, around strategies such as relocating operations, where international companies install their production centers in the city so they can export to other markets, such as the United States.
For the executive director of the ACI Medellin, Eleonora Betancur: “the nearshoring strategy, added to the management of free trade zones, tax incentives and the attraction of anchor companies, have become key factors for the city’s economic reactivation after the effects of the pandemic. From our place and expertise, this is the contribuition we make for Medellín to move forwards and for us all to build the future we desire”.
The companies installed in the territory come from Peru, the United States, Mexico, Spain, Canada, among other countries.
Intertec, an American software and technology development company, arrived in the capital of Antioquia as part of this strategy, in order to serve its clients in other countries, taking advantage of the needs for reorganizing supply chains and the proximity to its headquarters .
The Human Resources manager of Intertec Colombia, María Victoria Morales, pointed out that the company arrived in Medellín “attracted by the human capital, the cost of living and the human quality found in the city, in addition to the nearshoring strategy, as that allows us to serve and seek solutions for our clients abroad, basically in the United States ”.
Additionally, regarding foreign investment, Medellín is working on other strategies such as the declaration of two free trade zones in local territory, one in textiles and the other in software development; a package of tax incentives focused on direct investment and the attraction of anchor companies that help achieve the boosting of the economy and strengthening the Software Valley.
The ACI Medellín seeks to encourage social and environmental impact through the investment attracted to the city, promoting social responsibility programs in education, employment and economic benefits for young people and low-income families through training plans that allow the generation of quality employment in favorable environments for people and the environment.
The goal of the Mayor’s Office of Medellín is to position the city and the region as a strategic hub for air operations, tourism occupies an important line in the city’s recovery plan. This is the reason as to why alliances are being made to promote the destination with other cities in the world, which represents, among other things, the direct connection with new air routes to New York, Orlando, Cancun, Mexico City and Santiago de Chile.
Traveling to Cancun from any city will be possible, with a connection/stopover in the capital of Antioquia on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
This commitment is already showing results with the inauguration of the new Medellín – Cancún international route, operated by the airline Viva Air, which represents the opening of the Medellín HUB, an important step in the purpose of turning the capital of Antioquia into the hub for air connectivity in the continent.
“Not only are we now connected to Cancun, but this also means that every time a plane flies to said destination, another plane flies back to Medellín as well. Tourists arrive from Mexico, and this is one of our most important markets. What’s behind a tourist? There’s travel agencies, hotels, taxis, restaurants and visits to different parts of the city, and an exchange of experiences. I believe that Medellín has a lot to show and more so after everything we’ve gone through” said the mayor Daniel Quintero Calle.
Through the Jose María Cordoba Airport, Medellín connects with nine cities and five countries with direct flights. On the 10th of June, the Medellín- Orlando route will start operations, and the Medellín- Mexico City route will start in the beginning of August.
Around 35,000 passengers are expected to mobilize during the first year of operations of this route, with flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The next ones to operate will be: Medellín-Orlando (June 10th) and Medellín-México (in the beginning of August).
Before the pandemic, tourism represented 8% of the local Gross Domestic Product (GDP). From 2015 to 2019, the arrival of international passengers exceeded 55%, with more than 900,000 visitors annually.
The Municipal Administration and actors of the sector seek to overcome the barrier of one million visitors in the coming years, to resume the growth that local tourism had. In addition, it’s an opportunity to invite tourists to buy products made in Medellín, a campaign by local entrepreneurs to encourage domestic consumption, as emphasized by Mayor Quintero.
For Félix Antelo, president and CEO of Grupo Viva, “Medellín is a unique city, not only in Colombia, but in the world. What this city has achieved over the years is something few others have. There is much to tell the world about Medellín, we need, and we are going to focus a lot on bringing tourists from the Americas to come to know, to spend, to live experiences; so, the union between Viva and Medellín is more solid and firm than ever and we are going to continue betting on this great city”.
To date, through the José María Córdoba Airport in Rionegro, Medellín connects, through direct flights, to Miami, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Madrid, Panama, Lima, Mexico City and Cancun, which are operated by nine airlines.
With the Move to Medellín strategy, the Municipal Administration intends to strengthen the sector, which is why it has already provided $ 800 million for tourism incentives and hopes to attract more foreign companies.