Opportunities to Generate Income and Live in Medellín as an Expatriate
Peace makes Medellín a land full of opportunities
Medellín, like other cities in Colombia, has grown a lot in recent decades after a period of great instability. The troubled history of Medellin is well-documented: first with the leftist guerrillas that plagued the country for more than fifty years and then with the fight against criminal gangs and drug trafficking. Although that ordeal finally came to an end with the defeat of Pablo Escobar Gaviria’s cartel with Operation Orión in 2002 and the signing of peace agreements with the armed groups in 2017.
Areas of Greater Competitive Advantages
Being a young and growing country, there is much to do in Medellín. The field of technology development and innovation is a strong point, and engineering careers typically are in high demand. If you bring talents like that to Medellin, adding on your native-proficiency English language skills makes you a valuable asset. Potential to get hired but a multi-national company or create your own consultancy abound.
Medellín has become an important center of technological, economic and social development for the country. The national government and the Mayor of Medellin have designed joint strategies to attract foreign investment, creating jobs and business opportunities. The door has been opened for hundreds of companies to settle in Medellin. Additionally, digital nomads will be actively sought by the country of Colombia with the introduction of a “digital nomad visa” scheduled for later this year. Check out more data on why Medellin is a good bet in 2021 here.
In 2009, the Mayor’s Office of Medellín, in alliance with the private sector, created the “RUTA N Corporation”, as a center that seeks to consolidate the opportunities of the so-called “orange economy”. It involves sectors of academia, technology and innovation. It is no coincidence that tech giants such as the multinational company Hewlett-Packard have already installed a Global Research and Services Center in this district.
A Seed That Can Drive New Businesses
The concept of an “orange economy” has gained a lot of awareness in Colombia and specifically in Medellín where it has incredible momentum. The term was coined by John Hawkins in his book: “The creative economy: transforming an idea into benefits” (2001). The president of the country Iván Duque Márquez is aware of the importance that this sector has to overcome poverty and create wealth, as he pointed out in his inauguration speech on August 7, 2018: “We are going to take the risk so that this country has the chance to see entrepreneurs in technology be the new protagonists of progress. That the internet of things, that robotics, that 3D printing begin to make Colombia the center of innovation that we so deserve ”. Read the full assessment of the president here.
What is the Orange Economy?
The creative or orange economy can be defined simply as a set of human activities that are based on talent and are protected by copyright. According to experts in the field, the sector currently contributes more than 3 % of the country’s gross domestic product. But what’s interesting is that it has an almost infinite potential, given the current momentum that the use of new technologies and the growing role the Internet plays in society.
Made in Medellin
Traditionally, the Medellín economy has mainly revolved around the food and textile industry. Trade and tourism have had a solid growth in recent years, helping the city gain the reputation for having one of the most diversified and fastest growing economies of the country. Surely, it has established itself as an important business area, where competitiveness, innovation, sustainability and quality of life are the top premises.
In recent years the government has been promoting the so-called “cluster” of innovation that seeks to have it become Silicon Valley of Colombia, and many companies have been paying attention and have already settled in the areas, given the tax incentives they have to operate from Medellín.
To give you a clearer idea, currently six of the main companies that are listed on the Colombian Stock Exchange have their corporate headquarters in Medellín, which accounts for more than 30% of the total value of the shares that are traded in this market. This illustrates the impressive value of the Paisa economy for the country. Read a breakdown of these companies here.
What is the Main Asset of Medellín?
Medellín is full of human talent of the highest quality. There are more than thirteen prestigious universities, including the University of Antioquia and the Javeriana University, which are two of the top ranking Latin American universities. In addition, the hard-working and peaceful character of Los Paisas makes it possible to open a business in the city. Besides, the cost of living is much lower than in other countries in the region and the world, so if you have some capital it will not be a problem to find responsible and committed personnel to accompany you to successfully carry out your project.
There are deeply rooted values in the Paisa society, which have their origin in family: some of the most important ones are honesty and hard work. Thus, it is not surprising that people in Medellín always put an additional effort in their jobs and activities, because the job vacancy rate is still high compared to other countries. Paisa people in general spend a lot of time keeping their jobs up to date and always go the extra mile. It is common for employees to work more than a regular schedule on a voluntary basis, because they are really satisfied when companies meet their objectives. In the end it is a win-win relationship, because when companies succeed, workers guarantee stability and that is well known by the paisas.
But it isn’t all a matter of costs and competitive advantages: the Paisa people are very special – “Tan querida“- , as they might say. Apart from having a melodious accent that makes it impossible for the expatriate not to empathize quickly, they are also known for their solidarity. If you have a “part” of the town and you are arriving, in a very short time you will have a great family that will help you in the adaptation process, so we must say that the best thing about this city is its friendly, willing and helpful people.
Can You Make Money in Medellín?
If you are a foreigner, it is surely the first question that comes to mind when deciding to move to Medellín: How to support yourself and make enough income to live well? Will there be opportunities to generate money?
Here we will give you tools and tips so you can put yourself in a position to succeed if you do come here as an expat.
6 Ways To Make Income As An Expat
(1) E-Commerce and Digital Marketing:
Until recently, an almost unexplored field was e-commerce, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it now represents a niche that has grown dramatically. Now, companies have been migrating online to survive, and offering delivery services to customers. It has become a sector with an irreversible trend upwards, so if you have skills for design and development of web solutions or E-commerce applications you will see that you have reached a land of opportunity where you can innovate and grow in a short period of time. Read more about the future potential of E-Commerce here.
(2) Teaching English
English is a language of unquestionable importance in the corporate world and business relationships, so if you are a native of an English-speaking country or have a certain fluency and like to teach, you can come to Medellín and offer private lessons. Alternatively, you could set up an online language academy without investing much, and the earnings will allow you to make some money while you get settled. Some great news is that the country has an ever-growing demand for the language so jobs won’t be lacking any time soon.
And it’s not just to the locals that you could launch your English teaching career. Companies like DADA ABC and VIP Kids are based in China and always seeking native speakers – and pay around $17-$18 USD per hour. Plenty to live off in a city that has an extremely low cost of living.
(3) Professional Consulting or Freelancer
If you are an expert in a specific area with tons of experience and you can provide companies with tools to achieve growth. Don’t hesitate to offer your services as an Independent Advisor or Consultant. In Colombia, qualified people are highly valued, and the country is truly open to the arrival of foreigners. You will only need to create a briefing or portfolio and start making contacts that allow you to get your initial clients. Also, take into account that the sales area always requires strategies to achieve the corporate objectives. Additionally, there is a law that protects and encourages work from home, which is very fashionable in times of pandemic. For some industry data on freelancing, click here.
(4) Export of Paisas Products
With some capital and effort, you can also contribute to the growth of Medellín and create jobs by exporting its products. Some of the most representative products of the region are: handicrafts, bananas, coffee, confectionery, cosmetics, flowers, jewelry, textiles, among others. Take advantage of the fact that Colombia has free trade agreements with sixty other countries. Local products tend to have excellent quality and the lowered value of the Colombian peso makes them attractive in any country.
(5) Invest in a Rental Property
If you have the financial portfolio to be able to afford an investment in a rental property, this can be a solution to your cash flow requirements in Medellin as well. There is an incredible opportunity to obtain a sustainable return over time. Even during the pandemic, owners of well-decorated and well-furnished places were able to achieve solid investment returns as thousands of expats stayed in Medellin throughout the pandemic.
For a detailed breakdown of the considerations that go into a rental property, read this article.
(6) Receptive Tourism
Some expats have chosen to work in the tourism industry in Medellin. Being a tourist promoter of Medellín as an expat can not only give you the opportunity to get to know the city on a deeper level, but you can be a generator of opportunities for economic growth. Tourism is an initiative that is supported with great enthusiasm by local authorities, so perhaps you could establish strategic alliances with public and private organizations to incentivize that more foreigners come to the city.
You can read the guide of an expert here:
There are many opportunities make money in Medellín, and we are very optimistic for the future of this city and its people.
If you want more information on opportunities to meet, invest or reside in the beautiful city of Medellín, write to us and we will gladly get you pointed in the right direction.
Leave a comment below or message me via Whatsapp (+57)-317-523-3469 to talk more about the living or investing in the City of Eternal Spring.