Discussing biz in Latin America
By Mark Brown
In keeping with multicultural month, students heard a range of ideas from a panel of speakers yesterday regarding business opportunities in Latin America.
The symposium, held in the University Community Centre's McKellar Room, was hosted by AIESEC as part of Cultural Caravan.
Students who attended were invited to ask questions of the five-member panel about their experiences in Latin America and how they compared to experiences in North America.
Raul Alvarado, adjunct professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business Administration, described the business opportunities as being very different between each country.
Although Alvarado said he holds a lot of praise for the work ethic in Latin America, he said there are opportunities for people outside of these countries.
"If you can speak the language a little bit, you would be surprised at your chances."
There are opportunities in Latin America regardless of what you are studying, added Javier Millan Dehesa, VP-human resources for Groupo Industrial Bimbo.
Questions about the possible expansion of NAFTA to Brazil were fielded by Pedro Gill, VP-marketing for Quality Solutions Inc.
"Brazil is not thinking about NAFTA now," he said, but added the culture of the region is similar to the United States.
Luis Castro, owner of L.A. Imports, had a unique perspective on business opportunities in Latin America.
Castro, who came to Canada looking for opportunities, stared his own business by importing and distributing woman's swim suits and evening wear manufactured in Columbia.
Trying to break into North American markets is the hardest part of the job, he explained, especially because he is in competition with companies like Nike and Reebok.
He said he felt these companies have a lot of power to force themselves on the market. "If you want to sell Reebok shoes, then you have to sell Reebok bathing suits."