Negotium 2022: An Investor Pitch Event in Manizales, Colombia
On November 2nd, 2022, in the Colombian city of Manizales (about 5 hours from Medellín and the 17th most populous city in the country), an event called Negotium took place. The event centered around the arrival of various international investors to Colombia, with the purpose of investing in the developing South American nation. This article provides an overview of the event and looks at the major players involved.
The event was spearheaded by Matt Harmon, an American expat residing in Colombia since 2018, and the Manizales Más Business Alliance, which encourages Foreign Direct Investment in the city. Investors from Canada Colombia and USA, with 17 different aspiring Colombian entrepreneurs invited to pitch their idea with the hopes of expanding their business.
The event took place in the auditorium of the Universidad Autonoma de Manizales, located 229 kilometers from Medellín. The 17 different entreprenours presented their ideas via an Elevator Pitch methodology. In this way, time is of the essence, as they were given an average of just 5-7 minutes to get their core content, idea, and pitch across.
Looking for a Way to Invest Safely and Reliably
When asked about how the Negotium initiative was born, Matt Harmon tells us:
“After living several years in Colombia as an expatriate, I realized that there are great opportunities to do business and invest, but in reality many times when we bring money to Colombia, we don’t really know where to invest, as there is still no reliable platform that allows expat investors to create startups or incubate projects with the potential to make money. That’s why we came up with the idea of connecting investors with the best Colombian talent, who are looking for funding on their own through crowdfunding or other platforms.”
According to official statistics at the end of October 2022, foreign direct investment in Colombia amounted to US$9,491 million dollars, which is equivalent to a growth of more than 62.8% over the previous year. While this increase is likely inflated partly due to Covid, it still shows a significant trend up. This shows that Colombia is now an important center for foreign investment in South America, with growth potential in various areas such as: raw materials, energy, real estate, tourism, technology, services, and others.
Reasons To Invest in Colombia despite the Sensationalist headlines
Matt explains that the country really has everything an investor desires, but still works to overcome previous stigmas:
“When I arrived in Colombia, I realized that it wasn’t what the sensationalist headlines said, where it was all violence and drugs. Then, I arrived in the beautiful city of Manizales, where I was enchanted and I don’t plan to leave this place anymore. I now see clearly that Colombia is an amazing place with countless cultural and tourist attractions.
Let’s remember that, for several decades, the country has led the region’s economic growth figures, but it still has great potential for development in several areas. Seeing this I thought it is like coming to a virgin territory in a way, where you can innovate and make money with the right strategies.
Another no less important aspect is that living costs are affordable compared to other countries in the region and as if that were not enough in cities like: Barranquilla, Cartagena, Bucaramanga, Manizales and Medellín. They have a tropical spring climate almost all year round, which fascinates expatriates from climates with harsh winters in North America and Europe.
In addition, the average Colombian is educated, hardworking and open to foreigners, so it is not difficult to adapt quickly to Colombian culture”.
Exhibitors Demonstrated That Colombia is an Interesting Option for Foreign Investors
Of the 17 different entrepreneurs that were given the chance to showcase their company or idea, they were at a variety of different stages in the company formation process. They ranged from brand new concepts in the earliest of brainstorming stages, to established businesses looking for much needed to capital to expand. Of the exhibitions, the most interesting and prominent to us were the following:
1) Las Caseras de Mamá: A project that involves mothers who are heads of households in the poorest areas of Manizales, for the production of organic arepas.
2) Gamaco: A firm of engineers and electricians from Manizales, who offer consulting services. Since 2017, they’ve been involved in the optimization of hundreds of companies, regarding the safe implementation and efficient use of electrical energy.
3) Estudio Dussan: Founded by a renowned architect and exterior designer with 16 years of experience in the national and international market, who wishes to expand his project to Mexico and other Latin American countries.
4) Selvoria: A cosmetics line, which uses elements from the Colombian rainforests as raw material.
5) Taclla: A small company founded in 2016, which has successfully ventured into the drone service, helping to improve productivity in the agricultural and industrial sector.
Amongst the others, there were an array of industries represented, including environmental, crypto-assets, construction, software, real estate and technology, food production, cosmetics, tourism and services.
If you would like a complete list of companies, or to get in touch with Matt about ways to invest, please contact us.
Closing of the First Edition of Negotium
In general, the investors participating in the first edition of Negotium were pleasantly impressed by the quality of exhibitors who presented their business projects. The atmosphere was very lively, and the exhibitors answered all the probing questions asked by the potential investors.
We were able to get impressions from some of the potential investors of Negotium. Morris McGregor, originally from Canada, tells us the following:
“It was necessary to have an event like this in Colombia, because it gives us a clear idea of the best projects in which we want to invest our money. We believe that Colombia is undoubtedly a place that will continue to be talked about and this time for the right reasons, as it has literally become the promised land for thousands of expatriates, who come every year to live and invest. That is why I congratulate the organizers of this meeting”.
For his part, Julian Yepes, who is a lawyer and partner of Negotium, tells us:
“Colombia offers an adequate legal framework of protection, to guarantee foreign investors their investments. Let’s not forget that the country has commercial agreements, with more than 20 countries in the world, where there are reciprocity clauses. This means that foreign investment is respected and has all the rights of a national investment. That is why we give advice to foreigners who come here. The idea is to help expatriates to settle in the country legally always”.
Negotium organizers see this event as the starting point for many more and, in fact, another event is already being prepared on the way, in the city of Medellín in 2023 (where the commercial potential for foreigners is quite high), as well as for other Colombian cities.
Would you like to take part in Negotium 2023 in Medellín?
Write to me today at (+57) 304 299-6337 or contact us through the website and we will explain how you can take part as either an investor or entrepreneur.