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Analysis

A Mexican Silicon Valley?

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 12/14/2020 - 18:21

For years now, Jalisco has been called the “Mexican Silicon Valley” due to the state’s efforts and investment in innovation and technology to support startups. In 2018, former President of the National Chamber of the Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology Industry (CANIETI) called Jalisco a consolidated Silicon Valley due to its promising technological perspectives and the smooth growth the sector enjoys. In 2017, the tech sector in Jalisco generated 11,000 jobs and the expectations for the coming years was of at least 5,000 more jobs.

CANIETI has worked together with venture capitals in Jalisco such as Balero. During an MBN interview, Ángel Bañuelos, Founder of Balero, talked about the company’s work to create a physical space that acts as a co-working space and offers prototyping labs and other test areas. “The center bridges the gap between co-workers, as we provide an inexpensive and dynamic space, particularly for startups. We have a capacity of 60 spaces and have filled 30 percent,” said Bañuelos.

During an MBN interview with Georgina García, President of Jalisco's Medical Cluster, she mentioned Jalisco has built strong innovation capabilities in many sectors thanks to its great universities and academic programs in engineering, medicine and many other specialties. García examined local universities that have comprehensive healthcare-focused programs, such as a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering, and others that complement these capabilities like industrial engineering and marketing to address the industry’s needs. The state also has one CONACYT center and one CINVESTAV center with research focused on IoT and biotechnology, supporting many activities within the cluster. “This concentration of knowledge brings interesting opportunities to the medical industry and has allowed the state to develop its Una Salud por Jalisco (Health for Jalisco) program, which follows WHO’s recommendations on creating a transversal model for healthcare,” said García.

Garcia mentions that Mexican startups face significant challenges to bring their products to market and later to maintain high production volumes. “There are cases of successful Mexican startups but they are few,” she says. To address this panorama and foment Jalisco’s status, many companies such as Pragmatec have worked to boost Jalisco’s entrepreneurial environment. During an interview with MBN, Víctor Sanchez, Director of Pragmatec, said in terms of innovation and project development, the healthcare sector is very complex as it requires deeper support regarding technology development and transfer considering that medical devices take longer to develop and to reach the market. “Even though returns are slower, the social implications of these projects make them a very attractive focus for the company,” says Sanchez.

How do entrepreneurs experience these public and private sector efforts? MBN interviewed Jorge Pérez, Managing and Innovation Director of inMateriis. He explained that the company was able to grow its position thanks to the government’s efforts to market Jalisco as a Latin American Silicon Valley. “Those efforts have greatly contributed to building an entrepreneurial environment willing to scale up projects,” Pérez explained.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst