Can entrepreneurs save USA and Mexico relationship? Is the Border really the problem?
By Rob Ryan
I often say that our two nations are less like disagreeable governments and more like neighbors who share a property line. We are stuck with one another.
Every person who’s ever walked across the border into either country, or worked on a business or is in the government, knows how deeply inter-dependent and interconnected we are no matter the divisive rhetoric we hear from our politicians.
Dammit, we’re like family, and we’ve got to make it work! I believe entrepreneurs are this bridge.
Swirling amidst all our politics right now, our entrepreneurial economies on both sides of “the wall” continue to spin forward new ideas and new founders at a staggering pace.
No matter how loud our debates over immigration, the next president of Mexico, president Trumps endless barrage of tweety- policy making; no matter our public fights over trade, tariffs or caravans of central american immigrants making their way through both our countries…
Young and old, female and male entrepreneurs… from universities, from big and small cities, from tech, food, education or creative industries, all continue to pursue their ideas and develop the future versions of our countries every day.
Working in Latam
In my work in Latin America, I spend my days listening to people at every level of the entrepreneurial industry and a few common themes emerge:
- Entrepreneurial support is still too inefficient and bureaucratic
- Idea creation is spreading beyond just “elites and their universities” downstream into the middle of the economy everywhere
- Yes, there is more entrepreneurial support today in 2018 in Mexico, than 5 years ago, but not enough
- There are now more global market opportunities than ever, no matter where you start
Governments will always posture and miss obvious opportunities for mutual growth. Entrepreneurship is rooted in compromise and collaboration.
Entrepreneurs naturally bring together diverse groups of people to come up with “better/best” ways to solve real world problems every day
So YES, entrepreneurs can save this relationship regardless of the size of “the wall”
So, how? More local. More regional. Better national
- Localized Cross Border collaboration. Much more private, community led, (government enabled) cross border collaboration between entrepreneurial ecosystems.
We have incredible examples in border cities such as (San Diego/TJ, Ciudad Juarez/El Paso and other states) just scratching the surface, but we need more intentional concentration.
- University partnership networks (at student level). Increase cross border programs between Universities.
Programs that go beyond “panel discussions and VIP’s.”
We need to pursue innovative joint curriculum, student and staff exchange programs, Jointly developed commercialization networks for IP/Research.
- Local Capital Investment networks (private & public). Form cross border capital investment networks.
Create events and programs locally and regionally, that gather up and bridge VC, Angel groups and Private Equity from both countries.
- Personal-Local Exposure. Neither Mexico or the USA are monolithic ecosystems. We are both collections of cities, states and regional uniqueness.
Programmatically enabling people, from all levels, to spend time in one another’s cities demystifies the risks.
It opens our minds up to how similar not different we are. These visits/exchanges could be organized through international NGO’s, entrepreneurship organizations, universities or otherwise.
- Faster, Better and Simpler. “Better today than 10 years ago”, is no longer good enough. We must make everything more open and less bureaucratic, like any good business would welcome.
We have made great progress via Fintech laws, VISA programs and even state initiatives such as the JalisConnect landing program, but now we need to do more, do better and do it faster to ensure that Mexico keeps pace with the world!
Borders will always exist… how we work through them, together, is up to each of us!