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 Versión Español | November 2015


Over 60 opportunities for collaboration on competitiveness identified in Argentina

Fourth Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE)

More than 25 economic development leaders from universities, companies and governments from 16 countries of the Americas gathered in Argentina to explore commercial and collaboration opportunities with strategic partners. The Fourth Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE) of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) concluded on October 30 in Cordoba, Argentina with concrete results, including the identification of over 60 opportunities for collaboration among participants.

For five days, participants met with leaders from business incubators, local technology-based companies, rural production centers, local subsidiaries of international companies, research centers and public-private initiatives. Through these visits, the Exchange provided participants with an opportunity to learn from each other and build a network of contacts that will support the strengthening of innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems in the region.

As part of the agenda, participants visited FabLab Crea, a digital fabrication laboratory; Mercado Libre, an electronic trading platform with operations in 12 countries; Incutex, an incubator of technology-based companies; SavantPharm, a highly innovative pharmaceutical plant; Arcor, an Argentine multinational company that specializes in food production; Aceitera General Deheza, an agro-industrial complex dedicated to the grinding of oil for the production of vegetable proteins, vegetable oils, biodiesel and bioethanol; Villa María Cheese Cluster, which gathers and represents all the participants of the cheese value chain developed in the Villa María Region, and Promedon, a company from Cordoba with presence in sixty countries specializing on research, development and distribution of innovative medical technology, among others.

Description of the #ACXchange by participants after its conclusion:
- Source of inspiration to address the challenges that lie ahead
- Valuable
- Supported my growth
- A learning experience
- Helpful
- Created opportunities

The Exchange is an activity focused on achieving concrete results. Information shared by participants at the end of the activity showed that over 60 collaboration opportunities were identified, and it is expected that they will begin to bear fruit in the near future. Daniel Kefeli, from the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining of Uruguay, contacted the Technological University of Uruguay to encourage exchanges of teachers and students; Rossy Dubon, from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala, will propose the realization of a small Guatemalan exchange with local businesses, and will explore the design a strategy to further coordination between the work of universities, the private and the public sectors in stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship; Paul Jadin, President of the Association for Economic Development in Madison, Wisconsin is exploring how to bring "fly bike" products to Wisconsin, developed by one of the entrepreneurs at Incutex, and extend an invitation to some of the participants of the Exchange to Wisconsin to share its good practices and business opportunities; Cindy Medaglia, from the Foreign Trade Promotor of Costa Rica wants to bring the Government of Córdoba’s "sponsor a business" program to her country, as a good practice that can be replicated; Jerónimo Silva, Manager of ProBogotá, will follow-up with experts from some participating sites to guide the formulation of effective public policies for Bogota; Nora Angelica Medina from Paraguay’s ITAIPU Technological Park expressed interest in sponsoring an activity following the ACE’s format on the Paraguay-Argentina-Brazil border, to name just some of the collaboration opportunities identified.

The Exchange was organized by the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Mining and Development of the Government of the Province of Córdoba, Argentina and the OAS, as Technical Secretariat of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC), with support from the Government of Guatemala, as Chair Pro Tempore of the RIAC for 2015, and the United States Department of Commerce.

Ivan Torres, President of Young Entrepreneurs at Mexico’s Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce, who participated in the Exchange, concludes: "The activity has been a great effort by the OAS and the Province of Córdoba, which strengthens the objective of the RIAC - to create networks in the Americas to strengthen the hemisphere’s competitiveness."

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