Converting Guanajuato into a hub for IT and SoftwareBy Jan Hogewoning | Wed, 01/13/2021 - 15:09
Q: What are CLUTIG’s goals for the state and the region?
A: CLUTIG was born in 2017 from an initiative of the Mexican Chamber of Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technologies (CANIETI) in Guanajuato. The goal is to support strategic sectors present in Guanajuato with IT services and software, as well as to convert the local IT sector into a strategic sector in itself. Guanajuato has eight strategic sectors, which include automotive, aerospace, agro-industry and fashion and textiles. These have an international reach and have also brought different international corporations to the state.
In May 2020, we launched a plan for the cluster that aims to ensure the local IT sector can play a role in the reactivation of the state’s economy after this pandemic. There is a great deal of digitalization going on in both the private and public sectors. We want to ensure we can support these processes. Our strategies are based on several pillars. The first is to strengthen human talent, not just in the short term but also in the long term through policies that ensure new talent is generated and that it remains in the state. Second, we want to strengthen the state’s infrastructure for telecommunication and IT services. Third, we want to foster a culture of entrepreneurship, which is based on collaborative work and the creation of new technology. Fourth, we seek to push the introduction of new government policies that advance our agenda of stimulating the local IT sector. Furthermore, we are seeking to attract investment in the local IT sector from companies that participate in our cluster, for example. We also believe strongly in developing software for companies abroad. In this regard, we have signed an agreement with the Guanajuato Coordinating Agency of Foreign Commerce (COFOCE Guanajuato).
Q: How are you strengthening local IT talent?
A: We are part of a regional project for talent generation, which is based on a dual model where students learn both at university and through internships at companies. Other clusters and chambers in the state, as well as companies in Jalisco and Queretaro, are supporting this project. The aim is to generate more IT engineers in areas such as data science, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. We are also working with an organization called Beca U that collaborates with the German Association here in Guanajuato and other local educational institutions to provide scholarships. Our primary focus is on finding local talent and retaining it.
The cluster also has a portfolio of services offered to our affiliated companies. One is to introduce them to talented students. Every month we hold webinars to connect companies with the general public or students. We also hold events with universities, as well as clusters in other industries.
Another initiative in which we collaborate is Entix, organized principally by CANIETI. This is a national event where IT companies can get in contact with IT talent. It is organized twice a year with different activities. We have had hackathons and a kind of Shark Tank event where people present business ideas and business owners act as the judge. They can then choose to invest in these ventures.
Q: What programs do you have to support entrepreneurs?
A: We have a strong relationship with the innovation ecosystem in Guanajuato. I think the state has historically done a good job in developing research centers, incubators and entrepreneurial institutes. There is a proactive and dynamic effort in this area. We try to stimulate companies affiliated with our cluster to invest and support local entrepreneurs. In the medium term, we would like to set up a private capital fund with resources from our affiliated IT companies destined for entrepreneurial projects. Furthermore, as a cluster we hold events oriented to the topic of entrepreneurship. Lately, this has consisted primarily of webinars.
Another event we collaborate with is ENTIX. This is a yearly event created by CANIETI, where senior directors of companies, business directors and marketing directors gather to learn about the newest trends and innovations in technology. This year, we had the highest attendance to date, with almost 1,000 attendees.
Q: How can this cluster contribute to strengthening the state’s telecommunications and IT infrastructure?
A: We have been working with the Ministry of Economic Development of Guanajuato and other actors to identify strategic projects that can bring improvement to this area. Right now, we are analyzing a project that would create the state’s first cybersecurity node. This would offer cybersecurity services to protect the state’s industrial sectors. The idea is to materialize this project next year. We would like to include laboratories so companies can test and validate particular technologies. such as cybersecurity.
Q: How many members do you have?
A: Our cluster totals 65 affiliated members, which are primarily SMEs. However, we also host large corporations. Companies include software developers, consultancies in digital transformation, integrators and vendors of equipment and infrastructure. We recently launched an online catalog where we display 60 different services and products offered by our members called vitrina digital.
Clúster de Tecnologías de la Información de Guanajuato (CLUTIG) was founded in 2017 with the objective of strengthening the state’s IT sector, as well as supporting other sectors with IT services.