Over 3 million firms from 150 countries have visited ConnectAmericas.com. Some 200,000 of them from 50 different industries have signed up for the platform, where they can access sector-specific communities, business opportunities, training, and financial information.
ConnectAmericas.com receives support from Google, DHL, SeaLand, Facebook and MasterCard. It was created by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in 2014 to help local SMEs to go international, building on the success of events like LAC Flavors (foods, beverages, and flavors from Latin America and the Caribbean) and Outsource2LAC (services and outsourcing), among others.
This merging of the physical and online worlds has allowed the IDB to generate more than $2.3 trillion in business deals in both goods and services.
From a business meeting to a success story
Aurelio del Solar and Sebastián Arrieta are the perfect examples of this. The two are partners in the Peruvian company Brilliant Foods. “It would have taken us over a year to visit 26 clients around the world. When we were selected for LAC Flavors Peru, we were able to hold those same 26 meetings in 16 hours of work over the course of two days. Through the event, we closed a deal with a buyer from Russia who wanted to source Andean grains,” said Arrieta, the company’s CEO.
About 49% of the registered ConnectAmericas.com users are women. In 2016, with support from Google, the platform launched the ConnectAmericas for Women initiative, a business services site for businesswomen and women entrepreneurs from LAC.
Through it, Tanya Muñoz from the family-owned Mexican company Cocina Mestiza started selling her salsas and dressings to Grupo Britt, a large firm from Costa Rica with outlets in major airports all over Latin America and the Caribbean. The entire process took place through purchasing announcements posted on ConnectAmericas.com. “I learned a lot through the platform, took part in online courses, and eventually got it touch with the Britt Group through it. The process was quick and easy, and we finalized everything within three weeks,” she says.
Ana Morán exports foods and beverages from Montevideo, Uruguay. She found out about ConnectAmericas.com at LAC Flavors and was excited about the platform’s potential. She created an online profile and applied to a business opportunity that had been posted. “It was incredible for us to feel that the products our SMEs made were on international display. ConnectAmericas is helping us grow our company,” says Ana, in reference to International Business Alliances.
Chilean food company Mickelsen Agroindustria makes gourmet products like jams, sauces, and preserves. This family firm is run by Patricia Concha, who has taken part in different LAC Flavors events. “Starting to export wasn’t easy, it took us a long time, but by getting certifications we managed to reach difficult markets like New York. We’ve met a lot of people at these events and made some great contacts. Through them, we’ve ended up selling our products to several buyers in the region and further afield,” she says proudly.
LAC Flavors 2018
Santiago de Chile is getting ready to host the 10th LAC Flavors on September 24 and 25, 2018. The event will be attended by an unprecedented number of buyers and suppliers, particularly from the Southern Cone countries.
Over 20 export promotion agencies from LAC will also be present at the event, along with 450 supplier companies from Chile and other countries in the region who will be setting up business meetings with 116 local and international buyers. We are expecting that over 2,500 one-on-one meetings will be held in just two days and that the networking at the event will continue afterward on ConnectAmericas.com.