Alberto Pineda
Vice President of the Board of Directors
Unión de Crédito del Soconusco
Expert Contributor

The Value of Markets

By Alberto Pineda | Thu, 07/29/2021 - 09:05


“You pay a high price for going after your dreams and making them come true ... but you will always pay a higher price for staying in the same place.” Anonymous.


In 2020, our context was structured by a number of factors that demanded mission critical solutions: In March 2020 in Mexico, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (COVID-19) was declared, with a corresponding “National Health Alert.” The border with Guatemala was closed, including its international airport, La Aurora. All over the planet, including Mexico, unprecedented confinement had been established and economic activity had practically come to a halt. The Mexican municipality of Tapachula, Chiapas, and its surrounding regions were not only destined to experience the pandemic, we also had the imperative of containing and attending to the Migrant Caravans, which by the middle of 2019 and 2020 were transcontinental as migrants from the Congo, Syria, India, Haiti, Uganda, Cuba and migrants from the Northern Triangle (Mesoamerican Corridor) started arriving in the city of Tapachula.

Fifty-seven cents of every peso of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the municipality of Tapachula and its surrounding regions are generated by the tertiary activities of its economy: commerce and services. Both depend on the weekly visit of our Guatemalan brothers and sisters and on the Mesoamerican Corridor in the acquisition of goods and services, taking advantage of the fact that the exchange rate is MX$2.78 for Qq$1 (Guatemalan Quetzal). During the visits of our Guatemalan brothers and sisters to the city of Tapachula, 53 percent of their spending is in local establishments and 47 percent in department stores.

As a result, we had the urgent need to generate our forceful counter-cyclical response as soon as possible, which we structured with the Inclusive Model of Management and Multisectoral Social and Business Development, based on the Triple Helix (academia, the private sector, including nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations, and the three levels of government).

The agreed model was integrated with five Basic Ideas of Order:

1. Strengthen our internal market.

2. Establish the model of internationalization for the municipality of Tapachula.

3. Ensure competitiveness in the sectors in which we have an advantage.

4. Carry out financial liaison under preferential conditions for social and business groups.

5. Generate multisectoral benefits.

  1. Basic Idea of Order: Strengthen our internalmarket with the campaign Consume local...Consume what is made in Tapachula.”

I.1 In Mexico, legally Accredited Intermediate Bodies are represented by chambers, professional associations, associations and civil societies.

I.2 The first thing that was done was to convene the leaders of the region's Accredited Intermediate Bodies so that together we could devise concrete lines of action that would allow economic activity to continue, even at a minimal level but never at zero, and above all in compliance with biosafety protocols. 

I.3 We resorted to the creation of integrated planning, the elaboration of its logistics, a multisectoral biosafety protocol and the establishment of task forces.

I.4 We created a touching video at our production and commercial locations in which we presented the iconic companies of the municipality and the region, whether micro, small, medium or large. The spirit of the message was that we know and do not forget that together we are greater and better than one alone.

I.5 We generated web platforms as well as involvement in social networks.

I.6 Empirically, we decided to take the steps of what is now called the "digital transformation." We recognized that if we digitalized ourselves, then we existed. 

  1. Basic Idea of Order: Internationalization.

II.1 With the directives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico / DGCPP and the authorization of our mayor, Tapachula is incorporated into an internationalization model endorsed by the same Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and by the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) in early June 2019. On the Aug. 30 and 31 of the same year, the Constitutional Municipal President of Tapachula, through the Titular Consul of Mexico in the City of Quetzaltenengo, Guatemala, C.A., called for a plenary session to be held in Tapachula. There, the iSSCAT (South, Southeast, Central America, Tapachula Integration) Platform was declared and established, integrating the "Quetzaltenango Consensus" and the Integral Development Program (PDI) signed between the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

With the participation of the three levels of government in Mexico and Guatemala, C. A., as well as the main actors of the social and private economic sectors, international agencies, research centers, universities and official and private institutions of tourism promotion, the Declaration of the Manifesto of the iSSCAT Platform took place.

As a result, the Five Concrete Lines of Action indicated in the iMind Map II were established in a consensual manner.

  1. Basic Idea of Order: Competitiveness.

III.1 "The man or woman who always asks ... is never wrong." Alberto Pineda.

III.2 We decided to locate and consult with personalities who in our opinion DO KNOW. Then we selected true leaders in every sense of the word and who represent sources of value in terms of human principles, cognitive flexibility, creativity and innovation. Once in touch, we created a platform of activities based on ZOOM Webinar and all possible means, particularly digital, to promote all social and private economic sectors. In the first season, we had participants from the municipality of Tapachula, from the Mesoamerican Corridor, from several Mexican states, South America, the American Union and Spain. Our platform is called “Think Tank Webinar Series: Sustainable Business Resilience” and we received full planning and logistical support from the Buzan World Brain Academy. This program included the extraordinary participation of the CEOs of StartUp Mexico, the Center for Innovation Mexico Israel, Ulead International, Buzan World Brain Academy Latin America & USA, Procesamiento Especializado de Alimentos, SAPI de CV (the first Mexican and Chiapas-based company to offer processed tuna in pouch bags) and Grupo D'Amiano, a Mexican and Chiapas-based leader in the distribution and marketing of LP gas in Mexico. 

The “Think Tank Webinar Series: Sustainable Business Resilience” was broadcast every Thursday at 10 a.m., from June 18 to July 23, 2020.

Each program, was titled, “Let's talk about…:”

III.2.1. The New Normal?

III.2.2. Pandemic Survival Strategies.

III.2.3. Innovation for Agri-Food Productivity ExPost COVID-19.

III.2.4. Internationalization & Investment Promotion.

III.2.5. How to be Authentic and Disruptive?

III.2.6. The Intense Human Factor for Entrepreneurship and Integrating Successful Teams.

With this content and in an inclusive manner we developed the consequent lines of action represented in the iMind Map III.

   4. Basic Idea of Order: Credit_Urgent

IV.1 In the promotional activities of the Financial Network for SMEs located in the municipality and in the surrounding regions, operational coordination sessions were held with the three main banks and the strongest credit union in the city of Tapachula, as well as with two fintech’s located in Mexico City. At the end of the year, we achieved a 94 percent loan placement rate among all applications.

   5. Basic Idea of Order: Benefits

V.1 The Holistic Vision: In an environment of creating and fulfilling critical missions in which we are immersed and with the focus on the sectors located in the business space, it is imperative to act with a broad and deep vision, identifying all the links and components to establish a plan based on critical thinking that defines the objectives, strategies and tactics that generate greater results than the efforts and resources applied. The achievements are presented in the Mental Map V.

The end of 2020 arrived with a very intense emotional charge because of what had happened to our friends and family. COVID-19 is more than a serious pandemic, it is the trigger to redefine our new habits and customs, with which we will face "The New Natural."  I like to define it this way because the previous normal no longer exists. We now have “A New Natural.”

“It is not the biggest and strongest species that survive...only those that are best adapted to change survive" - Charles Robert Darwin.

Mind Map 1
Mind Map 2
Mind Map 3
Mind Map 4
Mind Map 5


Mind Map 6


Photo by:   Alberto Pineda