As the third largest provider of IT services in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico with US$ 2.579 millions (According to the International Data Corporation – IDC),Colombia is rising to the top due to its skilled workforce of more than 1.2 million professionals in the financial and services industry, incentives provided by the government, a continuous free trade agreement platform, competitive free trade zone regime, proximity and connectivity to North America. These features and benefits have created an ideal business environment for venture capital firms and angel’s investors looking to invest in innovative and attractive opportunities.
One of many Colombia’s strengths is its attractive regulatory framework around establishing and managing private equity funds and venture capital according to LAVCA in 2015. During the same year, the IT services industry registered record exports for US$60.558.280,37with an increasing demand from software and IT products oriented to the telecommunications, financial, government, mass consumption and manufacturing, according to Procolombia, the Colombian government trade bureau in charge of promoting foreign investment, international tourism, exports, and the country brand. The country currently has 66 certified companies in CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) plus high availability and qualified working force.
With the growing demand from countries like the United States, Canada, Spain, England and countries of Central and South America in Software and IT, Colombia has become a service provider to the world as well as a source of Foreign Direct Investment.
The Colombian government has created initiatives focused on increasing connectivity, improving professional training, and fostering bilingualism to ensure dynamism in the IT sector. In addition, foreign investors are exempt of Value Added Tax (VAT) in all exported services intended for foreign use or consumption as well as discounts in income tax to increase hiring of nationals. This investment ecosystem becomes ideal for investors in the US and Canada, which are two of the main destinations of exports in digital content and IT.In terms of investment it is also important to highlight that Colombia has 550 Gbps, 10 submarine cables and strategic geographical location.
Between 2009 and July 2016 Procolombia supported the entrance of 58 new projects of investment in the Colombian IT sector and digital content. Mostly came from the United States and Spain. This generated more than US$ 680 millions and 20.000 new direct and indirect Jobs. Most of the investment projects in this sector are based in Bogota and Medellin. It is also interesting to mention the intermediated cities which are starting to receive investment such as Manizales, Cali and Bucaramanga.
In 2016, the international consultancy firm, Gartner Inc. ranked Colombia as one of five destinations in Latin America to offer Business Process and Information Technology Outsourcing highlighting the country’s bilingual labor force and salary competitiveness within the sector. In addition, Everest Group the global consulting firm mentioned Colombia as an optimal market for finance and accounting outsourcing (FAO), legal process outsourcing (LPO) and business process outsourcing (BPO). Likewise, the company asserted the country’s strengths for its commerce, agriculture, and internal market growth, which complement each other making Colombia an investment destination.
From the 8th – 9th of September Miami will become Colombia’s new business hub. 100 Colombian IT and digital content companies, 80 buyers from Mexico, Canada and the US including 20 venture capital investors will meet at the 3rd edition of the Colombian Bring it on – On tour Business Matchmaking Forum. In its third edition one-on-one meetings will be organized between Colombian companies and American investors from New York, Texas, and South Florida that are looking to generate investment partnerships and become more visible in the international playing field. Colombia’s Minister of Information and Communication Technologies (MinTic), David Luna along with ProColombia’s President, Felipe Jaramillo will attend the event to promote Colombia’s high quality developments, personalized service, connectivity, proximity to North America, skilled workforce, and innovative projects.