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The Missing Point of Latam wanna-be Silicon Valleys

A variety of Latin American countries are headed to built region’s first latin-flavored Silicon Valley, but they will have to deal with for many is an inconvenient economic truth: The need for immigration. Matthew Carpenter-Arévalo of The Next Web, discusses in deep what is happening with this problem in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, just to name a few of the regions.

"It is not that Latin America is unfamiliar with immigration: Indeed, the last 500 years of Latin American history might be summarized by the dual themes of migration and exploitation.

Despite the grudging acceptance of yesterday’s migration, today’s migration isn’t always popular, as the nationalist sentiments of yesteryear continue to give legitimacy to the preeminence of the nation-state as a stand-alone and sovereign market. In the age of Internet-based consumer products, however, the predominance of the nation-state is a limiting and potentially destructive factor.

Each of the countries mentioned is faced with the same conundrum: On the one hand, the native tech communities are simply not big enough to produce the critical mass required to develop fully-fledged technology industries. Similarly, aside from Brazil, Mexico, and maybe Argentina, no country has a large enough population to sustain a thriving tech market on its own.

Operating in the world of mass volume and small margins, any entrepreneur looking to Latin America as the land of opportunity would be wise to focus on the combined market of 600 million people speaking two primary and not dissimilar languages. With internet penetration in the region almost at 50% and continuing to rise, the terrain is ripe for first movers to replicate the colonizers and plant their flag.

The clear solution to this problem would then be for one country or city to create a magnetic force similar to Silicon Valley where, according to one study by the Kauffman Institute, 52 percent of tech startups are founded by at least one foreign-born individual.

Indeed, so important is the foreign-born workforce to the continued ability of the San Francisco Bay Area to produce the next generation of consumer-products that the Valley’s big players are lining up behind Mark Zuckerberg to lobby for immigration reform. It turns out that world-class companies require world-class employees, and any Latin American country hoping to imitate the U.S. need not ignore the sticky issue of global talent acquisition and retention."

Read the complete article here.

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