Silicon Valley’s culture of entrepreneurship has pervaded the world—counterparts like Silicon Taiga (Siberia), Silicon Allee (Berlin), Silicon Plateau (Bangalore), and Chilecon Valley (Santiago, Chile) are fast becoming formidable hubs of technological innovation in their own rights.
Latin America in particular is experiencing tremendous tech startup growth, with regions like Mexico City at the forefront of this renaissance. The following are 13 reasons why Ciudad de México might be the next Silicon Valley.
13. The world’s largest technology giants are betting on Mexico City.
Companies like Motorola, IBM, HP, and Gameloft have a significant presence in the region, bringing with them knowledge and business insights from Silicon Valley and beyond into local markets.
12. Mexico City has an abundance of young technologists and entrepreneurs.
Every year, promising graduates from renowned institutions and universities like Tecnológico de Monterrey enter the workforce. And with a year-on-year increase in the number of regional grassroots startups, much of the young engineering and IT talent goes to research and innovation for such organizations.
11. Mexico City is strategically located for global business and interchange of ideas.
Thanks to its strategic location, Mexico is effectively a bridge between North and South America, serving as a regional base for many prominent global enterprises. Additionally, the shared geography and various free trade agreements make international business affairs easier to manage.
10. Mexico City’s large population serves as an ideal test market for innovative products and services.
Mexico City alone has over 24 million inhabitants—a substantial market for testing and refining products and services before going global.
9. The fast-paced environment of Mexico City is ideal for spurring innovation.
Population growth in major cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey have created market demand for innovative technologies aimed at improving the quality of life for everyday citizens.
8. Mexican advances in research are recognized worldwide.
Students from public and private universities in Mexico have consistently won global awards and garnered international acknowledgement for research in fields like electronics and robotics. For example, Mexico has participated in global tech competitions like RobotChallenge 2014/2015—the most important robotics competition in Europe—winning first, second and third place. Additionally, Mexican teams have placed prominently in other contests such as Summer Challenge 2015, Robogames 2016, and Robotwar 2016.
7. Mexico City is seeing an explosion in the number of new, regionally-founded tech startups.
The country’s largest city is also—unsurprisingly—where most of its tech startups live. This high concentration of innovators certainly makes it increasingly fit for tech startups.
6. The creation of the “Creative Digital City” in Guadalajara helps to round out a national ecosystem for digital innovation.
Initiatives like the “Creative Digital City” in Guadalajara are simultaneously restoring urban environments and promoting creativity/technological innovation. These programs, though not based in Mexico City, are helping to foster IT and tech activity on the local and national level.
5. Insights and experience gained from the region’s longstanding maquiladora industry can be transferred to hi-tech.
Maquiladoras, albeit controversial, have nonetheless transformed Mexico into a manufacturing powerhouse. The same methodologies and lessons applied to technology may give the region an advantage when it comes to to producing hardware and software at-scale.
4. An abundance of technology events hosted in Mexico City help to bring in the global innovation, ideas, and capital.
Mexico City-hosted events like Hackathon and the Digital World Fair are bringing global investors, inventors, and established companies to the city in search of innovative ideas and promising talent.
3. A rise in government investments geared towards technological innovation is spurring tech startup activity.
The last few years have seen advances in government-sponsored tech startup initiatives, both in Mexico City and Latam at-large. In 2015, the Mexican government’s Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor (INADEM) helped over 400 companies kick-start their projects.
2. Mexico is ranked globally as an ideal country for doing business.
According to the Doing Business Ranking 2016, Mexico is #38 in the world for doing business. The ranking measures factors like facilities available for starting a company, construction resources, cost/availability of electricity, taxes and government credits/incentives, and protection level for minority investors, among others.
1. Mexico has a sizable, growing economy—especially when compared to some of its neighbors.
Despite experiencing ups and downs, the Mexican economy has been steadily growing—the 15th largest in the world in nominal terms and the 11th largest by purchasing power parity, according to recent figures.
Though Mexico City may not displace Silicon Valley as the international tech capital any time soon, its fast becoming a formidable global resource for IT/tech talent and is carving out its own identity as a regional cradle for innovation and entrepreneurship.