My 35th APEC SMEWG Meeting Speach

Compañeros del Emprendimiento:

Comparto con ustedes mis palabras en el 35th APEC SMEWG meeting realizado en Saint Petersburg, Russia el 1 y 2 de Agosto de 2012:

“Good morning everyone! It’s a pleasure to be here talking to so many interesting people and getting to know the initiatives around the APEC area, that promote SMEs.

I want thank this opportunity of sharing with you as an Official Observer of APEC. Special thanks to Doctor Robert Lai, SME Workgroup Chair, to Mister Diego Belevan Director Program and the Russian Delegation for the hospitality.

My name is Camilo Montes, I’m the national director of SMEs of the Colombian government. Today, I would like to take a few minutes to talk to you about Colombia and what we are doing to foster new, innovative and world-class companies.

After all, we consider Entrepreneurship to be the fastest road to development.

Let me talk about Colombia: Is located right in the middle of the American continent and it is the only country in South America with access to the two oceans (Atlantic and Pacific).

Colombia is the entrance to the Amazon region. It’s not only surrounded by seas, but also surrounded by mountains: The Andes split in three parallel ranges that extend along the country.

Our location, as you imagine, is a high strategic value for our economy and development efforts.

Maybe you know, now it’s a very exciting moment for my country. A couple months ago, TIME magazine feature Colombia in its cover with this legend:

The Colombian comeback:
From a nearly fail state to emerging global player
– in less than a decade

This means a lot for us. Being able to start this path of prosperity taking into account all the past difficulties (like Guerilla, Narcotics, Violence, Terrorism, etc.) it hasn’t been easy. But we are getting there, we are making this happen, and we are very, very proud.

Here are some quick facts about Colombia.

  • Our GDP is 10 thousand 4 hundreds US dollars (in Purchase Power Parity PPP terms)
  • We have a sustained 5% average of economic growth in the last 5 years.
  • Colombia’s Credit Rating rose again the last year to Investment-Grade, according to Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
  • We are ranked as 5th in protecting investor (according with the Doing business 2012)
  • And we will be one of the 30th biggest economies by 2050 (according with a HSBC Study)

With almost 46 million inhabitants, Colombia is:

  • the third largest country in Latin America,
  • 24th in the world in terms of population,
  • and the second largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world.
  • We are the second most biodiverse country in the world and one of the 12 mega diverse countries.
  • Colombia is one of the six countries that hold 50% of the world’s fresh water

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, Colombia is currently positioned as the 28th economy in the world.

In all, and emerging economy prepared to take over the world. (or at least that’s what we are aiming for)

When it comes to Entrepreneurship and SME’s, we are working very hard to strengthening our ecosystem so we can surround and foster more and better companies.

According with the 2011 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Colombia has one of the top ten ecosystems for Entrepreneurship at the world.

And we intend to keep that way!

In order to achieve this we are focusing on 3 main strategies:

  1. A Differential Approach design to developed specific target instruments, programs and policies for every different type of entrepreneur. You cannot treat them all the same way.

We are focusing on 4 types of entrepreneur.

    • Survival Entrepreneurs: that create companies because they need to eat.
    • Traditional Entrepreneurs. That allow a little opportunities of the markets.
    • Dynamic Entrepreneurs, that use the technology and market to grow
    • And the High Impact entrepreneurs that change our society thought the innovation.

Achieving this consensus hasn´t been easy, considering the social problems that Colombia still have. But getting everyone to think as a united Ecosystem, putting everyone on the same page, allowed as to start working together in this direction.

2. Collective Action:

There’s no other way to face the challenges of the world today, than with coordination and collaboration. In that line, we started to work together with over 400 institutions related with entrepreneurship all over the country, in order to sum efforts and strategies that serve to all entrepreneurs.

Let me explain: we have more than 400institutions that work for different types of entrepreneur (for example: 5 National Ministers with their own programs, 12 business association, 300 institution, 20 business incubators, 5 angels investors networks, and others). All that institution has to work together, as an ecosystem.

Now, our ecosystem work through meet-ups, spaces, meetings, workshops, seminars and collective efforts, in line to consolidate a robust entrepreneurial system capable of spinning off hundreds of companies.

3. Platforms for conversation

The State should be an open platform, it should be open 24/7, and in permanent communication with all of stakeholders.

Those days of centralized knowledge when we assumed that either the president, executive director or dean was the only one who knew how to get things done, are over. It is only through open collaboration and innovation processes that we can make significant changes.

Tapping into the myriad of networks, inside and outside our countries, is the only way.

In Colombia we have over 32 Regional Networks for entrepreneurship, one per each state, that together have over 4 hundreds institutions. Is through these scenarios that we execute our policy for entrepreneurship.

Needless to say, these efforts have been very successful, and we can’t wait to continue working with passion for this practical, differential and articulated effort.

As I said before, it has been very motivating for me to learn about SMEs practices in your countries. I’m sure that with the future entrance of Colombia to APEC, the exchange of experiences will be stronger and surly the panorama of the SMEs of the Pacific and Asian region will expand.

Hopefully you can come to Colombia very soon. You are invited. When you get there, either for pleasure or business, give us call so we can get together and share with you this COMEBACK in which we are working so hard to sustain.

Thank you very much”.

Camilo Montes
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
National Director of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism


4 pensamientos en “My 35th APEC SMEWG Meeting Speach

  1. Camilo , interesante planteamiento mostrando las bondades de nuestro pais sin desconocer la problematica interna que nos afecta. el mundo debe conocer que el emprendimiento en Colombia es una estrategia de estado y con las juventudes y los emprendedores construiremos el progreso que tanto necesitamos.

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  2. Camilo, Interesante PLANTEAMIENTO mostrando las bondades de nuestro pais sacar adelante lo que nos afecta que un dia nos podamos reunir y demostrar que podemos derrotar la pobresa estrema el desenpleo . que el gobierno nos de la oportunidad a cualesquier persona del pais que poseemos el poder sagrado de la INVENTAVILIDAD,que hoy poseo el unico camino en el mundo para construir la paz. poseemos hoy los productos originales de la energia electrica o modelos originales para la INVENTAVILIDAD. Y EL ENPRENDIMIENTO. y construiremos el progreso que tanto nesesitamos.

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