Holland House Celebrates Four Fruitful Years in Mexico
After four years of growing operations, Holland House Mexico celebrated its anniversary with an accreditation from NLinBusiness, becoming the 12th hub in the NLinBusiness network to receive this recognition. Opportunities abound for Dutch companies in Mexico, but there are still challenges to strengthening business ties between both countries, say Dutch leaders.
Over these past years, Holland House has focused on building a successful business community, now comprising 100 Dutch companies and several Mexican players with connections to the Netherlands, to support new ventures coming to Latin America. Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, the organization worked to build a strong operation with a service portfolio that could add value to its members, according to Karel van Laack, President of the Advisory Board of Holland House Mexico. With this new accreditation, companies can now explore new opportunities in the country knowing that they will be supported by the expertise and services of a global business network.
“As a NLinBusiness accredited hub, Holland House Mexico continues to facilitate sustainable business development for Dutch companies. Our services are tailored to each companies’ specific needs, thereby paving the road to success in the Mexican market,” says Carin Verbree, Manager of Holland House Mexico.
According to the OEC, Netherlands’ exports to Mexico grew 109% between October 2021 and October 2022 to €259 million (US$273 million), while imports remained stable at €129 million (US$136 million). Mexico was one of the few countries without entry restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading many from the Netherlands to visit Mexico. This exchange helped the countries’ cultural and business relationships to evolve despite the difficult times.
Now that the pandemic-related crisis is easing up, conditions are ripe for Dutch companies wanting to grow their business, particularly in Mexico City, which NLinBusiness considers a priority as the “political and economic center of Mexico and the richest city in Latin America,” with the potential of becoming the seventh largest economy by 2050. “Mexico is a market of 130 million people, while in the Netherlands, you are always bound to a population of 17 million people,” says Jesse Damstra, General Manager, Philips Mexico.
In this business environment, Dutch companies have the upper hand when trying to mold their value propositions to the Mexican reality. Both the Netherlands and Mexico are relatively smaller countries next to or part of large economic powerhouses. “We know how it is to export to economically strong neighbors, so we understand the business models that are effective in Mexico,” says van Laack.
While there are not many trade and investment barriers between the Netherlands and Mexico, there is an opportunity to improve Mexico’s reputation in the eyes of the world. This would open the door for more Dutch investment, says the Netherlands Ambassador to Mexico Wilfred Mohr. “People usually believe Mexico is dangerous, but that is not true. We should improve Mexico’s image before the world: it is a fantastic country to work and live in.” Adds Damstra: “Generally speaking, there is a negative perception of Mexico in the Netherlands. The things that reach the news are not representative of the country.”
Regardless of these misconceptions, it is crucial for both SMEs and multinationals to understand the opportunities and challenges of investing in the Mexican market to ensure that rewards outweigh risks. Holland House Mexico is positioned to serve as a great ally in navigating these challenges as the “premier organization to help any Dutch company to settle in Mexico, providing whatever they need for a company to be successful and to fight the problems and pitfalls that are common when entering a new country,” says Daniel Reitsma, Mexico Representative, FrieslandCampina.