San Francisco is set to launch an initiative called LatinSF aiming to attract Latin American businesses to set up shop in the city. A replica of ChinaSF, which has successfully attracted nearly 50 Chinese companies over the past years, LatinSF is also meant to help San Francisco companies expand operation to Latin American countries.
Last year, the San Francisco government set aside $100,000 for the LatinSF venture. Now it is persuading private companies to put up an equal amount.
Set to start operating sometime this year, LatinSF will initially focus on the region’s large economies such as Brazil and Mexico, but will also pursue companies from Colombia, Chile, Peru and Argentina in later years.
ChinaSF was funded by the city government and companies such as Deloitte, EastWest Bank, Lennar. But it is not yet clear how many private companies have shown interest in funneling money into this new venture.
According to San Francisco Chronicle, LatinSF will operate out of the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, in partnership with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.
The City of San Francisco is already described as the New Silicon Valley of the United States, as it is home to several top tech firms such Twitter, Square and Pinterest.
Analysts say the initiative will lead more and more LATAM firms to set up shop in San Francisco, largely due to the fact that the city offers easy access to tech investors in the United States.
According to Eduardo Prisco Ramos, consul general of Brazil in San Francisco, a few small and larger companies have already taken their operations to Brazil. His office is designed to help promote trade between startups in Brazil and U.S. companies in the Bay Area.
In that interview, conducted in 2013, Ramos said there is a need to increase airline connections between Latin America and the U.S. city to strengthen the relationship.
According to the Chronicle, foreign-owned firms employed 90,000 people in the San Francisco area in 2011, primarily in the pharmaceutical, banking and computer system design sectors.