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While Medellin is PSL's birthplace and headquarters, over the years we've begun utilizing the whole of Colombia (check back for some exciting location news in 2020!) as a hub for innovation and evolution in the nearshore software development outsourcing space.
Opportunities for technology and nearshoring in Colombia are booming, and it's never been a better time to start taking advantage of them. Here's why.
For 2020, the World Bank Group's annual Doing Business report gave Colombia a score of 70.1 out of a possible 100, representing an increase of almost one full point over the 69.2 received in 2019.
The country currently sits at rank 67 in terms of ease of doing business, ahead of Nearshore contenders Costa Rica (74), Uruguay (101), and Argentina (126), among others. The only comparable nation's leading Colombia are Mexico and Chile, but at rank 60 and 59, respectively, they hold only a negligible margin.
Colombia's development in this area is largely based on its implementation of several new laws and regulations that simplify and improve various processes, such as starting a business, transferring property, getting electricity, enforcing contracts, trading across borders, and paying taxes. The country also made paying taxes less costly by reducing the payroll tax rate and introducing exemptions for health care contributions paid by employers.
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For US clients, Colombia is incredibly compatible in terms of time zones. Medellin does not participate in daylight savings time, so for half the year Medellin is in central time and the other half east coast time, which is very convenient for our clients.
It's easy to get here too. The country's airlines are always adding more international flights, like direct flights from Miami, Orlando, New York City, Fort Lauderdale, and more. On top of that, both Bogota and Medellin have comfortable and affordable hotels ranging from hostels to luxury hideaways, as well as quality public transportation and reliable fiber optic communications infrastructure—even if we are a little biased, it's difficult to find reasons not to partner with companies in Colombia.
An honorable mention here goes to Medellin, which picked up the Nearshore Americas "2019 Nearshore Destination of the Year" award as recognition for its growth in the software development outsourcing space and its overall impact on the Nearshore industry. This was a particularly exciting win for PSL because we have been championing this very notion since we first started nearshoring software development services nearly 15 years ago.
Is this just Medellin or the whole country?
Despite the challenges that every market faces in attracting world-class engineering talent, Colombia's talent pool is growing steadily, with Medellin and Bogota home to most of the country's top engineers. This growth is supported by government programs, forward-thinking engineering schools, and nonprofits that are making it easier for students to become developers, no matter their economic status or lack of formal education.
One of those nonprofits, the Holberton School of Engineering, opened its first international campuses in Medellin and Bogota in January 2019. Holberton's curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of software engineering, rather than just teaching students how to code. Over two full years, students study to become developers, tuition-free, and only start to make payments after they graduate and secure a job. The initiative introduces students of all economic backgrounds to the world of technology, which is why PSL has partnered with Holberton School in an effort to invest in technology and education as a means to improve Colombia's communities.
Most countries in Latin America share a common bond in that they're all culturally aligned with the US. There are multiple international companies located in Colombia that already have experience working with North American clients, so they understand the nuances and ways of working that are hallmarks of U.S. business culture.
Furthermore, Colombian businesses view the importance of developing ways of working, language skills, and strong partner relationships in a similar way to their U.S. counterparts. This compatibility makes it easier to avoid potential headaches and miscommunications that can occur in more long-distance outsourcing partnerships.
At PSL, we always make sure our clients get a firsthand look at the country so they can witness the cultural affinities first-hand. This is a necessary step in ensuring alignment and engagement within nearshoring teams, so our clients are often invited for an initial kick-off for a project and frequent visits thereafter. Once clients experience how close and culturally similar Colombia really is and just how beautiful and engaging Colombia can be, they keep coming back for more.
Since 2011, tourism to Colombia has been showing no signs of stopping, with an average 8.4% visitor growth every year. In light of this increasing popularity with tourists, the country was named the Leading Destination in South America in 2019 by the World Travel Awards, and it's no surprise why.
Not only is Colombia home to world-class nature and breathtaking landscapes, but there is also a huge variety of international restaurants, events, music, endless festivals to enjoy and so much rich cultural heritage all a perfect fit for the growing international community and foodie scene.
Medellin is also racking up award after award, as people are seeing the true value of this new tourism hotspot. In 2016, the city claimed the Lee Kuan Yew World City Award, highlighting its advancements in the creation of livable, vibrant, and sustainable urban communities. In the same year, it also picked up the Most Transformational City of the Year award from the Council of the Americas.
More recently, Medellin was hailed as a top travel destination by the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and numerous other publications and travel sites. Most visitors find it's easy to be in Medellin and it's easy to stay.
After witnessing continuous improvement and a clear growth trajectory, people familiar with Colombia and the city of Medellin are sharing stories of success, security, stability, and world-class software development. All that's left is for you to do the same.
Want to learn more about nearshoring to Colombia? Give us a call!