Mexico has devised a national digital strategy aiming to groom a digital economy creating thousands of jobs in the technology sector. The five-year plan also aims to bolster the country’s ICT sector.
Sparking innovation and supporting young enterprises in technology and digital services sector are the key components of the strategy.
At the 35th Annual National Convention of the National Chamber of the Electronic Telecommunications and Information Technology Industry (CANIETI), representatives from four states – Distrito Federal, Jalisco, Tamaulipas and Yucatan – briefed the guests about their plans to support the national strategy.
Chief information officers (CIOs) in government offices should not be seen as computer maintenance personnel and they need to be qualified to make business decisions as their counterparts do in the private sector, said Salomon Chertorivski Woldenburg, the Economic Growth Secretary of the Distrito Federal.
“There are cities in the world that have CIOs who actively participate in the development of digital strategy. This is what we hope to replicate in Mexico,” he stated. “If you really want to reap the real IT benefits, achieve a higher success rate, you should change the mentality of the public officials.”
Infrastructure & Connectivity
“A city such as Mexico City, home to approximately 16 million people, needs to have an efficient connectivity,” said Woldenburg, adding that his government is rolling out fiber optic cables to give better Internet access to everyone.
“Mexico City is one of the 25 best connected cities in Latin America, and the 10th in the use of social networks. Even so, we need better connectivity, which, in turn, requires investment,” he added.
The Mexico City Government has collaborated with companies associated with CANIETI to invest around $2 billion for bolstering broadband network.
As part of the digital strategy, Mexico City has launched an applications development laboratory, entitled Code for Mexico City(Code CDMX), to facilitate interaction between citizens and government officials about new technologies.
About 15 apps – including InfoDF Móvil, Mi Policía, Ecobici, Alarma Sísmica, Ministerio Publica Virtual, and Sistema de Denuncia Ciudadano – have been released so far, with the government setting up a virtual office to disseminate information about economic activities.
At Distrito Federal, university students are also trained in launching tech start-ups. According to one official, more than 80 youngsters will travel to the Silicon Valley this summer to learn how start-ups are created and run.
“We plan to work with CANIETI to generate the necessary synergies so that these youngsters can build on their enterprise,” the official said.
The state of Jalisco, in the meanwhile, is planning to roll out a few programs designed spark innovation among students and young enterprises. According to Jose Palacios Jimenez, Economic Promotion Secretary, the Jalisco State Government is exploring ideas to meet its digital objectives.
With the construction of the Innovation Center for the Acceleration of Economic Growth (CIADE), Guadalajara has become Mexico’s first Digital Creative City (CCD).
World of Business Ideas (WOBI) and Jalisco’s Economic Growth Secretariat (Sedeco) have jointly planned a reality show designed to foster entrepreneurial culture among youths. The reality show, in which 15 participants will exhibit their entrepreneurial skills, will last about 13 weeks.
Monica Gonzalez Garcia, Economic Growth and Tourism Secretary of Tamaulipas, said that in her state most of the large businesses have already gone digital. But a large majority of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which represent 90% of the economic activity, are yet to go digital.
“The biggest challenge today is persuading everyone to go digital, and that’s what we need to focus on,” she added. Tamaulipas’ science & technology park in Victoria City has long been offering research and training opportunities to young entrepreneurs.
The secretary stated that her government was joining hands with educational institutions to update the syllabus. “Education is being revolutionized, and, at the same time, the necessary infrastructure is being provided so that people can launch their own business.”
Business Incubation Program
Yucatan’s business incubation program has helped creation of more than 22 IT companies in the past three years, according to the state’s economic promotion secretary David Jesus Alpizar Carrillo.
The incubator, according to Carrillo, is focusing on a few industry vertical including logistics, tourism, information technology and manufacturing.
Under the Digital Wellbeing program, the Yucatan Government will supply higher education students with a laptop loaded with information about educational programs. And the state has provided Internet access to most of the communities, Carrillo said.
The state is also planning to construct a technology innovation center (CITI) in Merida, where office space will be offered to young enterprises to launch their own businesses.