Country Information Colombia
Colombia is an enormously diverse country full of entrepreneurial people that are known for their friendliness and rank among the happiest in the world. The country is geographically well located, allowing easy and fast access to both the USA and other Latin American countries. Colombia has the the biggest Spanish speaking population in South-America, and is interesting to foreign companies because of lower costs, a great talent pool and its cultural similarity to the US and Europe.
Over the last 10 years Colombia’s image has changed for the good: due to a strong economic growth and increased homeland security, the country today is not solely associated with guerilla groups and narco-trafficking. However, still many people think the Colombian economy is mainly based on agriculture, mining, and low-skilled labour. But this is also rapidly changing; increasing globalization, the Colombian entrepreneurial spirit, and increased access to investment capital have led to a rapid rise of e.g. the Colombian Bio-tech and ICT sector. Also tourism is booming and – in the footsteps of the backpackers – mainstream tourism from Latin America, Europe and the USA is now finding its way to Colombia.
Country Director Colombia
The Access Latin America representation in Colombia was established by Derk Norde. Derk holds degrees from the University of Amsterdam and the Free University. In 2003 Derk co-founded Fair Ventures, a consulting company for businesses looking to improve their supply chain in emerging markets. Subsequently in 2004 he co-founded the BiD Challenge with the Dutch Committee on Sustainable Development (NCDO), a project that spun-off into the BiD Network Foundation, which has its head office in the Netherlands and partner offices in 17 countries. The BiD Network sources and selects business plans of small and medium sized enterprises in emerging markets and offers tools to the best entrepreneurs, paving the way for them to access finance.
Derk is working and living in Latin America since 2007. He has set up operations and secured funding with partner organizations in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, whilst working for clients and investors in Europe. He has worked with countless businesses and entrepreneurs from all over Latin-America, and is always inspired by individuals that know how to recognize market opportunities, and turn them into new businesses.
“Derks practical analysis, his thorough knowledge of the local market and vast network in Latin America, translated in outstanding results for our company.” John Locke – President EcoEnergy Business Group.
“Derk is a true entrepreneur with a sharp eye for sustainable ideas. He can quickly identify a need in the market, thinks his projects through, then lines up the best partners and so secures success. In addition, Derk is an honest, open person whose biggest quality is helping others to get further.” Claudia Schalkx, Assisting SME