Jorge E. Sequeira Picado is one of those entrepreneurs who knows all about running a lean startup – he co-founded SPS Software in 1986 (which later became Exactus Corp.) in a garage in San Jose. The firm later grew to employ over 200 people in four regional offices around Latin America, supplying ERP software to enterprises.
Now Picado has an entirely different challenge ahead of him – he is taking the reins of Procomer, the already matured trade-promotion agency that is focused on accelerating the flow of exports out of Costa Rica through an assortment of trade channels –from BPO to pineapples. “I always wanted to dedicate myself to public service,” said Picado, who has spent most of his career in the role of entrepreneur and this month becomes CEO of Procomer. “There is a lot that can be done. This country had developed its model around foreign trade… and I see an opportunity to really make a difference.”
One of the first objectives Picado plans on tackling is to strengthen the exporting base of Costa Rica, which he believes should be much larger given the size of the Costa Rica economy
Picado is walking in to an organization that is – from my own personal experiences –well organized and efficient. An army of Procomer country leaders are stationed in countries around the world, focused on trumpeting the unique products, services and opportunities available through working with Costa Rica product-builders and service providers. In the New York region, for example, Procomer director Maykool Lopez is constantly out forging new relationships, organizing events and expanding business opportunities for members of Procomer.
One of the first objectives Picado plans on tackling is to strengthen the exporting base of Costa Rica, which he believes should be much larger given the size of the Costa Rica economy. Making business leaders more aware of Procomer within Costa Rica is critical, he says. Costa Rica may no longer be looked as a “Banana Republic”, says Picado, but the country brand also needs to be aggressively promoted.
Costa Rica’s “peers” in the global services industry are countries like Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico – but the challenge facing Picado is how to differentiate Costa Rica from those nations by drawing new points of comparison which transcend the commonly referenced issue of population.
With Picado’s experience in enterprise software and also familiarity with working in the United States, he is in a great position to better articulate the value of Costa Rica to the typical sourcing decision maker or CIO.
What Picado is up against however is a fairly entrenched bureaucratic culture in San Jose, that has become so pronounced that even the new President, Laura Chinchilla, singled it out as one of the key impediments to attracting foreign investment during a recent video interview with Nearshore Americas.
We wish Picado well as he look to re-position Procomer – and also start painting a new identify for the Costa Rica export services brand.
-Kirk Laughlin, Editorial Director