Multimillion-dollar companies, world-famous singers and important research at renowned universities are a small sample of the fruits of the talent found in Colombia.
But when searching for the extra essence that this South American country has, giving it a propensity for a unique and capable population, the one word that can be used to describe it is passion. Like their slogan says: “Colombia is Passion”.
This can be seen not only in Colombians everyday zeal for life, but also in their innate talent to push forward and improve their own lives and the lives of their fellow citizens.
“Colombia is a born entrepreneur. Here we say it has a great capacity for ‘moonlighting’, i.e. to find a way to survive, to succeed,” explains President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, who puts great importance on the university system to foment the minds of the citizens. “We have an innate capacity. Foreign investors coming into the country are impressed with our ability.”
The country attracts investors from world-famous companies such as 3M and Hyundai, as well as boasting highly successful national entities. On this year’s list of Most Global Companies in Latin America, Colombia’s main airline conglomerate, Avainca-Taca, holds the number 15 position, rising from last year, and the chocolate company Nutresa comes in at 18.
But this talent is not just apparent in business; art and culture also thrive. Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, famous for his novel One Hundered Years of Solitude, was born in the small northern town of Aracataca. Famed musician Juanes and reggaeton artist J Balvin, who recently won four awards at the Nuestra Tierra Music Awards, are both from Medellin, the second largest city.
While some generalize about Colombia as a whole, the president of Hyundai Colombia, Carlos Mattos, breaks the country into its various regions, highlighting each with unique characteristics. He says whereas Antioquia is hard working and enterprising, paralleled by Santander’s strong personalities and entrepreneurial spirit, the Caribbean region is full of happy people, full of joy and celebration. He describes the city of Cali as a “live city”, where people enjoy salsa.
“And in Bogota we find the five regions together but we also find the typical person from Bogota, which we call ‘cachaco’, which is quite sophisticated,” explains Mr. Mattos, adding it is the differences people can discover in each corner of the country that makes it so successful, unique and thriving.