Mexico: A Talent Supplier for Canada
Mexico: A Talent Supplier for Canada
The lifting, on December 1, of the visa requirement for Mexican citizens interested in traveling to Canada, which had been established back in 2009 by the conservative Stephen Harper’s administration, opens a new scenario in the economic, business and social relations between both countries. Since 1994, both nations are members of the North America Free Trade Treaty (TLCAN is the Spanish acronym), along with the United States.
This measure will contribute to fully normalize which is already a fruitful business alliance. The bilateral trade between both countries is nine times bigger than it was back in 1994. In the first half of 2016 the Mexican exports to Canada went up 6.8%, thus totaling $2,9 billion, mainly focused on sectors related to aeronautics and the motor industry. Likewise, an important role is played by agricultural products, transformation companies and those linked to the digital animation, graphic and technological industry. Mexico’s direct investment in Canada climbed to $1,4 billion in 2015. Altogether, the trade balance shows a trend that favors Mexico for $1,5 billion. Both countries are ranked third among their respective business partners.
These numbers are backed up by a solid architecture of cooperation agreements within the framework of the TLCAN. The favorable situation in the business relations has had an impact on the number of Mexican companies that have decided to establish their offices and invest in Canada, as well as the volume of startups that have chosen this country to grow or launch new projects. The Bimbo Group is a paradigmatic example because of its economic impact and social repercussion, since it entered the Canadian market in 2014 by acquiring the emblematic Canada Bread and Vachon. This operation, according to the president of the Canadian subsidiary, Alejandro Pintado, was part of a growth strategy that “complements the presence of our brand, the production and distribution in the North American continent”.
Other important companies, like the Alfa Industrial Group, Mexico Group, Industrias CH or Eumex, are some of the main Mexican companies that have been operating in Canada over the past years. The Alfa Group’s high-level aluminum component division, Nemak, has a plant in Windsor (Ontario); Industrias CH, a manufacturer of steel products, operates in Hamilton (Ontario) and Mexico Mining Group, one of the main copper producers at international level, actively participates in the mining exploitation in Canada.
But the experience of these big companies coexists with the other Mexican entrepreneurs that have silently managed to identify market niches, create a business and grow until they have become commercially important in the Canadian market. All in all, they respond to the profile outlined by Political Science professor Bessma Momani, Waterloo University (Ontario), in her recent study: New Canadian Entrepreneurs. A Scantily Appreciated Contribution to Canadian Prosperity? According to Profressor Momani, “the entrepreneurs that have come from other countries are usually more active and innovative in the creation and marketing of new products, they stand out for their audacity in business and they are more qualified to explore new growth formulas”.
This idea is confirmed by Mexican lawyer Luis Guillermo Cruz Rico, a founding member of Mexico Business Club, an initiative by the Mexico-Canada Business Alliance aimed at supporting Mexican entrepreneurs in Toronto, fostering and strengthening the understanding and business relation between both nations. According to Cruz Rico, “the new Mexican entrepreneurs are characterized by their high educational profile, professional studies and postgraduate courses; they are sophisticated in terms of business, with great capacity to adapt, significant instinct to find opportunities, explore niches and get results¨.
Adalberto Aguilar matches this profile. He arrived in Toronto back in 2008, with a degree in company management and a long family tradition in bakeries. His great-grandfather founded the first baker’s shop in Morelia back in 1927 and he decided to go global with Pancho´s Bakery by opening the first property in 2009, in one of the most densely-populated areas of Ontario’s capital. He also studied Advertising and Public Relations at Toronto’s University and worked hard to give the company a solid and well-structured business plan aimed at growing in the Canadian market in the medium term. The inflection point came in 2010 when they saw the opportunity to introduce churros in their Mexican sweet bread offer. “We realized that we had to meet new demands and trends in order to reach out to the market with a quality product”, Aguilar says.
Ever since, the company has gone through an unstoppable growth process and it has skillfully strengthened its position in a wide segment of Canadian consumers. The company owns three establishments, a production center to distribute frozen products, 14 employees, 2 food trucks and a mobile sales outlet. They are presently working to open the first franchise. The famous slogan: “I love churros” is present in every event taking place in Toronto. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or German President Joachim Gauck are some of the most select customers. Pancho´s Bakery has learned how to assimilate Canada’s business manuals without leaving its original personality behind: “We are a Canadian business with a Mexican product”, Adalberto Aguilar explains.
He is probably a good example of how to approach the Canadian ecosystem, “this is still a wild land for Mexican entrepreneurs”, Guillermo Cruz pointed out. However, the business opportunities, the existence of a robust network of investors and public help makes the Canadian market more friendly “when compared to the United States, so startup projects are more feasible in Canada”, as underscored by Miryam Lazarte, director of Latam Startup, an organization specialized in the methods to connect entrepreneurs and investors from Canada and Latin America.
This reality has been clearly identified by Vetelia, the startup founded in Guanajuato back in 2013, which put out the “hibridus” electric bicycle and revolutionized the sector. Unrasonable Mexico -an institution that supports entrepreneurs tackling Mexico’s biggest problems-, has named it as one of the fifteen companies with the highest impact throughout the country and it has now jumped to Canada in order to materialize its next goal: the production of a 100% Mexican electric car with significant influence on the environment and mobility.