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FEATURE STORY

Promoting Entrepreneurship in Mexico

September 19, 2013

Economics Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, with Manuel Rivera, President and Director General of Grupo Expansión, and Gloria Grandolini, Country Director for the World Bank for Mexico and Colombia.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • On September 18, the Expansión Group and the World Bank organized the Expansión Entrepreneurship Forum.
  • Entrepreneurs generate employment and wealth, two key factors for the country’s development.
  • Participants discussed the challenges and opportunities entrepreneurs have in Mexico.

“We wanted to package the aroma of coffee,” says Pablo González Cid. This could have remained a figurative expression only if Pablo and his family had not used the family savings to transform this idea into a profitable business: Punta del Cielo Coffee.

Increasingly, Mexicans like Pablo are opting to invest their time, talent and money to convert their ideas into goods and services. As a result, entrepreneurs generate employment and wealth, two key factors for the country’s development.

On September 18, many of these entrepreneurs filled the auditorium of a hotel in the Mexican capital to attend the Expansión Entrepreneurship Forum, an initiative of the Expansión Group (CNNExpansión, Revista Expansión) and the World Bank.

“Who here is an entrepreneur?,” asked one of the event’s moderators. A sea of hands went up.

Next, the moderator asked audience members to use their electronic responders to answer the question: What is the main obstacle to entrepreneurship in Mexico? Within seconds, the conclusive response appeared on the screen: “access to financing.”

In response, Mexico’s economics secretary, Ildefonso Guajardo, confessed to the audience that the country still had no mechanisms for helping to transform virtues such as tenacity and talent into income-generating projects.

“When a society does not have and does not guarantee competition, innovation is inhibited, entrepreneurs are inhibited because the few who monopolize the market can hinder the development of society,” Guajardo said.

Despite being a heavyweight on the global scene and sharing one of the most dynamic border regions in the world with the United States, Mexico has yet to make private enterprise a key factor in development.

“Mexico has one of the largest economies in the world; however, despite years of macroeconomic stability, the country has not grown in economic terms due to its poor productivity levels,” said Gloria Grandolini, country director for the World Bank for Mexico and Colombia.

In recent years, the relationship between productivity and economic growth has led both governments and multilateral agencies to pay more attention and provide more support to entrepreneurship: in other words, the capacity to transform ideas into goods and services.

The Mexican government is making legal reforms to support entrepreneurship and recently, the National Entrepreneur Institute (INADEM) was formed to promote the culture and productivity of entrepreneurs.

These efforts appear to be paying off, judging from the words of Salvador Jiménez, of the Valle Orgánico Company: “there are opportunities (in Mexico); pay attention to the market, always try to differentiate yourself.”

Other entrepreneurs attending the Forum appear to share his opinion. When asked whether they thought it was worth investing in Mexico despite all the difficulties, the screen showed that 83% had used their electronic responders to answer in the affirmative.