Medellin Entrepreneurs Aim to Join Export Boom in ProColombia ‘Mipyme’ Project
Colombia government promotion agency ProColombia announced January 18 the expansion of its “Mipyme International” export business-development project, which now aims to boost exports of goods other than petroleum or minerals to a total of US$21 billion this year.
“Following the success of the first edition of Mipyme International in 2015, which helped 33 companies to launch or restart their export processes, ProColombia strengthened the program in the 2016 version to include a total of 500 MSMEs [medium and small enterprises] in foreign trade,” according to ProColombia.
In the first version of “Mipyme International” launched in March 2015, 33 small-and-medium enterprises reached new export markets 20 countries, including Canada, Spain, United States and France, according to the agency.
“For every US$1,000 invested in the program, MSMEs had a return on investment of US$138,700 in sales abroad, of which 28.1% [of the total sales] were exports in 2015 and 72% [represented by] purchase orders they expect to materialize in 2016,” according to ProColombia.
According to ProColombia president Maria Claudia Lacouture, the 2016 target set by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism is for Colombian companies to hit US$21 billion in exports of goods and services “other than hydrocarbons and minerals.”
“To this end, the strategy includes taking advantage of international trade agreements, [global] production chains with higher value-added [products], and generation of an ‘export culture’ to strengthen business growth,” according to the agency.
This year’s version of “Mipyme International” puts special focus upon companies involved in production and export of underwear, swimwear, footwear, leather goods and jeans-wear; specialty coffees; snacks; fresh or processed fruits and vegetables, chocolate and confectionery; home and hospital cleaning supplies; toiletries; architectural finishings; construction supplies; and cosmetics.
ProColombia export advisers are making 200 personal visits to companies in Medellin, Cali, Bogota, Bucaramanga and Cucuta, while 48 other Colombia companies will get “virtual” visits (via Internet connections), according to the agency.
“The 252 companies that have never exported before gain support and information from an in-person adviser for up- to 18-months,” according to ProColombia.
Companies involved in the program must be at least 51% capitalized nationally and must be able to invest at least COP$20 million (about US$6,000) to boost export capacity and meet international buyer requirements, according to the agency.