Colombian Trade Promotion: Leads to Services Export Boom

By Lacouture, Maria Claudia | International Trade Forum, January-March 2014 | Go to article overview

Colombian Trade Promotion: Leads to Services Export Boom


Lacouture, Maria Claudia, International Trade Forum


A testimonial provided by David Bergantino, former vice president of premium games production at broadcaster Nickelodeon in the United States of America, shows Colombia's position as an emerging global service provider. 'There is talent and enthusiasm as well as a great ability to deliver at a high level of quality and at a competitive cost,' he said last year at a seminar in Bogota.

Bergantino's perception of Colombia's services sector, shared by many, was shaped by the coordinated efforts of the Colombian government and business community and the results that cooperation has generated.

Synergy has been key. Proexport Colombia, the entity in charge of promoting non-traditional national exports, began working with the services sector in 2009. Three years later the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communication (MITC) joined Proexport in its quest to increase services exports.

Thanks to close cooperation with the business community, we have been able to identify strategies to reach different niche markets, such as participation in international events, training seminars, sourcing programmes, business conferences, and exploratory visits to strategic markets.

Through these efforts, we are creating contacts with companies in different markets to facilitate business opportunities and this has paid off. Nickelodeon and entertainment provider Walt Disney Co., for example, have identified Colombian companies to develop 360-degree campaigns and video games.

Opening up through trade fairs

Having a presence at international events generates business opportunities for Colombian entrepreneurs as they learn at first hand of industry trends, a knowledge that has further facilitated efforts to enhance their supply of services offerings.

That is why we assisted 150 Colombian companies in 2012. By 2013 that figure rose to 328 firms in events such as the Game Developers Congress in San Francisco, the Cannes Film Festival, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and the World BPO Forum in New York, among others.

Our support also consists of inviting international buyers to sector-specific fairs in Colombia. In addition, we hold an annual business matchmaking forum in Silicon Valley so Colombian companies can explore the United States market and find new opportunities.

The participation of services entrepreneurs in our multi-sector business matchmaking forums is also significant. During the 50th Business Matchmaking Forum held last February in Bogota, the largest to date, there were 253 Colombian and 122 international companies. We've had similar events in Toronto, Chicago, Miami and Brazil.

In addition, we are creating an IT brand for Colombia in a joint effort with MITC to promote the sector abroad. …

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