“Latin America catches entrepreneurship fever”, said the BBC earlier this month. “Oh, absolutely”, I thought. After setting up my business in the UK, and being involved with clever entrepreneurship people over there such as StartUp Britain and Entrepreneur Country, one of the highlights of coming to live back in Latin America has been the evident growth of entrepreneurship in the region.
Apart from the inspiration that you get from entrepreneurs and the dynamism they give our economies, I can see plenty of opportunities for British exporters. Let me explain…
First of all, entrepreneurs are curious and global – and they tend to have a fascination for Britain and its amazing creativity and entrepreneurship. They admire British entrepreneurs, from Richard Branson to Norman Foster, and entrepreneurship even in the most traditional brands, like Burberry’s. Make the most of it. Realise that Britain is seen as an inspiration for many here.
However, trade is both ways. Be ready to be receptive. What has Latin America got to offer you? What are these entrepreneurs up to? Connect with them, listen to them. Try to go above that tedious media coverage of Latin America in the British press and realise that there’s a lot going on here that isn’t football, terrorism and colourful leaders. There’s ideas, creation, energy. Listen – and you might spot a business opportunity for you.
Latin America’s entrepreneurs are also avid consumers – of ideas, of technology, of content. What can you offer them? More importantly, how can you work together? Remember also that these entrepreneurs have an amazing understanding of their markets – what can they teach you? More likely than not, they will be suffering from the problems you’re trying to solve, and they might be solving them themselves. The question is, will they do it without you?
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