Whether due to their architecture, infrastructure, commerce or culture, different cities have a factor that makes them different and, in many cases, charming for their visitors and residents. Medellín is not the exception and in its particular case, it is urban and social transformation.
The evolution in infrastructure, notable in some aspects such as transport and public spaces, has been key. But the generalized approach to innovation has also been decisive for international investors and companies to be interested in settling in the territory and joining in working for its development.
One of the highlighted strategies is to turn Medellín into the Software Valley and in this way, based on technology and 4.0 industry, leverage the progress of the territory and generation of opportunities for the community. This city project is supported by institutions such as ACI Medellín, Ruta N, Procolombia and the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which are in charge of attracting foreign investment and exposing to the world the advantages of Medellín for digital businesses.
Paola García, Vice President of Investment at Procolombia, confirmed that 804 international projects have settled in Colombia during the last five years. Likewise, according to the Ruta N portal, 20 companies from nine countries have established themselves in the city in 2020, as a result of the management of the ACI Medellín, Ruta N and Procolombia. These are expected to create about 1,012 jobs between 2020 and 2021.
Some of the global companies that have landed in the Aburrá Valley are Teleperformance, UPS, Holcim, Algar Tech, Endava, Owens Illinois, Endrock Growth & Analytics, Rockwell Automation, Somo, Arbusta, among others. Next, these last three share their experiences of their arrival in Medellín.
Somo, digital agency: They find local talent related to their values and corporate culture
Created in the UK in 2010, Somo is a digital products agency, with clients such as HSBC, Audi, Siemens, Vodafone, EasyJet, among others. After having its two offices in England (London and Bristol) and another pair in the United States (Charleston and Washington, D.C.). The idea of opening a new point arose and that was the opportunity for Medellín.
Through Ruta N programs, they learned about the potential of the city. After evaluating several strategic areas in Latin America, they defined that Medellín was the best option due to the increase in talent trained in digital skills. “It is not an accident, it is a strategic plan. The city and its institutions invest and bet on this. And not only is it good now, but it continues to grow, like our company and the others that also arrive ”, says Nick Haywood, Chief Delivery Officer at Somo Medellín.
Likewise, finding that there was human talent focused and able to tune into their corporate culture was another defining factor for Somo’s arrival. “In Medellín we find people related to our values, which are courage, a focus on achievement and a passion for innovation,” says Haywood.
This is how at the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic, they were able to establish themselves in the Aburrá Valley. The mandatory isolation led them to work at home, which they did well due to being a digital company, but it did not stop the team from continuing to extend their ties. “We delayed growth a bit due to this situation, but we are already growing again. Right now we are 25 people, in January we expect to be 50 and later, 100 ”, adds Nick Haywood.
We were surprised that it was very easy to find good talent and good culture. We are a different company in terms of the importance we give to our workers. They are happy and we grow as a team, these are signs that we are doing things well .”Nick Haywood, Chief Delivery Officer, Somo Medellín.
Rockwell Automation: Leveraging Their Growth Strategy on Knowledge and Bilingualism
Rockwell Automation is a leader in industrial automation and digital transformation. Its headquarters are in Wisconsin (United States) and it employs around 23,000 people worldwide, in 100 countries. In Medellín, Rockwell Automation opened its campus in June 2020, and plans to consolidate a team of software engineers, programmers and advanced automation professionals, focused on software development to support the growth of its clients.
“Medellín is one of the fastest growing technology centers in Latin America. There is a considerable amount of technical talent available in the city, which has also undergone a great transformation in the last 30 years and has invested heavily in its infrastructure, education and quality of life ”, acknowledges Juan David Carrasquilla Arango, Medellín Campus Manager, Software & Control by Rockwell Automation.
The Covid-19 pandemic made his team join virtual work. However, in parallel, they have started to build their own facilities in the city. “It has not been easy to start virtually, but the entire team has integrated very well and now we are delivering the expected results to the corporation,” says Carrasquilla.
Likewise, in Medellín they have successfully met the goal of hiring around 60 employees in 2020 and expect to have more than 100 collaborators on campus, by fiscal year 2021. “We have worked closely with ACI Medellín, Ruta N and Procolombia to align ourselves and take advantage of local policies. Having people with technical and bilingual skills is key to our growth strategy, ”concludes Juan David Carrasquilla.
Medellín has undergone a great transformation in the last 30 years. In addition, the local government offers attractive policies and incentives for companies to have a presence in the city .”Juan David Carrasquilla Arango, Medellín Campus Manager, Software & Control, from Rockwell Automation.
Arbusta: fascinated by the innovative spirit and transformation of the city
Arbusta is a technology company that provides experiences to support the digital transformation of organizations, through automation and data management processes, usability, machine learning, among others. It has about 300 employees and has offices in the cities of Rosario, Buenos Aires, Medellín and Montevideo.
Although born in Argentina, five months later they were already in the Aburrá Valley (between 2015 – 2016), so the growth has been in parallel. “The landing in Medellín was carried out by the ACI Medellín, Ruta N and the alliance of that then Medellín Ciudad Inteligente. In the San Joaquín neighborhood we started our first recruits and timid operations. We grew and then we moved to the Ruta N building ”, says Emiliano Fazio, director and co-founder of Arbusta.
Currently, 54% of the Arbusta team are women and 90% are first job opportunities in technology for centennial talent. “Arbusta comes out of the strong belief that the digital native has a talent for the digital industry and deserves a job opportunity,” says Fazio. They take advantage of this time to present the book The power of unlooked talent, by Carlos March and Andrea Vulcano, in the city, which tells the case of Arbusta and its millennial and centennial talent development model for 4.0 Industry.
Regarding their takeoff in Medellín, the director says that it was extremely significant for him to know the history of the city. “I heard about the topic of innovation and it seemed very nice (…). But I was much more captivated by the profound effort that Medellín has made to transform itself. I was moved to meet the protagonists of this transformation and I felt that something very special was happening in Medellín. I don’t know if so much for being the most innovative city, but for seeing a town that, when it has a common goal, does extraordinary things ”, says Fazio.
Arbusta aligns their dream with the Software Valley strategy of generating opportunities for young digital natives, who can develop their potential from the knowledge economy. “When we founded Arbusta, we knew they needed more than just training: a first opportunity to show themselves and show the industry and its community that they can really create value,” Fazio concludes.
We saw the radiance and the thrust of Medellín and we felt the need to come to be infected with that and to contribute to a city that is worthwhile. Over time we justified the fact of being in Medellín. We got to know it, we committed ourselves to the city and we supported the effort. ”Emiliano Fazio, director and co-founder of Arbusta.