Catalina Restrepo has spent just one and a half years at the helm of the town's Investment Promotion Company, ACI Medellín. But he has managed to go away a mark and create a legacy. When the present mayor's office ends at the finish of his four-year term, Finance Colombia's publisher Loren Moss needed to discuss Restrepo's term with the ACI (Agencia de Cooperación e Inversión) in Medellín. Through the years, the company has been extremely productive in attracting corporations, overseas funding and occasions to Medellin. In line with Restrepo, there’s still work to be achieved.
Finance Colombia: So we're here with Catalina Restrepo. What is your title formally?
Catalina Restrepo: Sure, President of Medellín and the Office for International Cooperation and Investment in the Metropolitan Area, however "ACI Medellín" is nicer (smiles).
Finance Colombia: Actually, and the way much time do you’ve got in this position?
Catalina Restrepo: It's been a yr and 6 months.
Finance Colombia: And what did you do earlier than? Tell me just a little about your story. Are you local or from the remaining of Colombia?
Catalina Restrepo: I was born and raised in Medellín. I studied highschool right here within the city of Medellin after which once I graduated I went to the USA. I first went to Minnesota to review English, although I used to be already in bilingual faculty, after which determined to remain in my skilled studies there in Minnesota. I did a Bachelor of Science in Enterprise and a minor in French.
Finance Columbia: University of Minnesota?
Catalina Restrepo: Saint Thomas College. Then I had the chance to benefit from the cold of Minnesota.
We will't fall into the lure of "yes, Medellin is the best" no. Medellín is one of the best for us, who loves it so much, but all of us have challenges, we all should study, so let's say it is nonetheless shocking that once they come here they are going to be like "could it be?" Isn't that so? “And once they make us know, they are saying,‘ Properly, yes! "
Finance Colombia: Yes, it's like the coldest state except Alaska.
Catalina Restrepo: From the USA. Nine months of winter and three summers, but I’ve eternal gratitude to the two cities (Minneapolis, St. Paul) because I used to be really completely happy to be there once I had the chance to work in finance in the USA. Then I returned to Colombia and again to Medellin. I labored as an occasion director on the Antioquia Museum, then went to Bogotá, worked for the Republican Presidential Administration for 4 years, then served as Governor of Antioquia, then Ministry of Commerce. I worked at the World Financial institution in Bolivia on all the competitiveness indicators issues and eventually worked for SENA after which got here to the Mayor's Office.
Finance Colombia: Wow, fascinating.
Catalina Restrepo: So to get all that work experience again then, I continued my studies; I studied communication and corporate social duty. I am also specialized in public administration J.F.Okay. Authorities School at Harvard University, and I ultimately accomplished my Masters degree in Relations and Communication.
Finance Colombia: Wonderful, so you might have a superb stability between finance and know-how, including relationships and relationships.  Catalina Restrepo: Once I was in the Presidency of the Republic, I labored on international cooperation issues. At the Division of Commerce, I had the opportunity to work with multilateral organizations, so throughout my work experience, I have all the time had my colleagues, and right here at ACI, I had all these colleagues in the identical job, so that's what I do. Make this work fascinating, make certain this work is enriching, that it is capable of growing myself as individuals and professionals, and it is work … I say I’ve probably the most lovely work of all as a result of right here at ACI we work to create excellent news daily.
If there's a public group that can provide good news, it's ACI: Who's complaining concerning the jobs we produce? Who can complain about the truth that we are enhancing the potential of the residents' area by means of cooperation? Businesses are coming here demanding to make us their house metropolis, higher human capability, extra competitive, however these residents also have formal job opportunities, so we show them day by day how Medellín has changed by way of all the delegations coming from everywhere in the world to see what happened in Medellín? Within the 1990s it was a city nobody needed to see, probably the most violent metropolis on the planet, these days the Medellin of the Fourth Industrial Revolution; that just lately the World Financial Discussion board decided that Medellín is to "focus" on Latin America, the world's fifth metropolis with such a center, in order that they ask me what do Tokyo, Mumbai, Beijing, San Francisco and Medellín have in widespread? I inform them we are the cities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Finance Colombia: It’s fascinating how Medellín has modified. I keep in mind for the primary time in Colombia in 2004, taking a look at what Colombia is like now, and especially from Medellín, how its popularity has changed, and the way Medellin is just like the Silicon Valley of South America. There are corporations which might be shifting from Uruguay, the USA and Europe, not as a result of it is cheaper – although cheaper – however as a result of of the quality of life, its human assets, it has the human skills, the connections it has. Then inform me: If you arrived at ACI Medellín, the company was already arrange, it already has a very good popularity for professionals like Juan Carlos Valencia and his colleagues, however typically I find it much less difficult to vary or restore one thing that’s broken than to take one thing that works , and take it to the subsequent degree as you see it whenever you arrive. The place are you proud of your achievement? You would not have lots of time after the beginning, but what I've seen supplier of taking a look at what is occurring right here, extra companies, as a result of Medellin is all the time coming declarations of a company that selected Medellín grow up, what do you assume are crucial achievements that you’ve made throughout the previous few months?
Catalina Restrepo: Look, Loren, I feel the achievements are large and the company has been established for seventeen years. It’s an company that’s changing and adapting to the wants of the town, and it has been an company that has been capable of adapt to its modifications.
So one, the agency's human assets staff is invaluable, and that's the first thing. . Two nice achievements? That yr, we labored onerous and achieved virtually all the objectives of the development plan, starting with “Medellín Cuenta con vos 2016-2019”. So to realize in such a short time isn’t just my matter, it is a matter of staff commitment and working with the group and with the group, because what's the point in me doing sure issues if I don't know how one can talk to the group to have company outcomes? We’re a group, we’ve got an ideal chief who is mayor, and the mayor is convinced that this can be a essential opportunity, and once I say this, this is the day-to-day work of the company.
It's essential for the town's economic improvement, so what have we carried out? we’re somewhat more targeted, we haven't tried just a little the whole lot. What’s the focus for 2018? What’s the focus for 2019? We are doing nicely, but we demand more from ourselves as a result of I do know we will do higher.
So when you see the achievements to date, that is, by way of overseas direct investment, Medellin has $ 1.01 billion at this time. As of Might 31, and we hope to shut December 31, 2019 by almost $ 1.2 billion. If we examine ourselves to other cities like Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cal, Medellín, it’s second, it ranks high, in useless last week, FTI Intelligence of the Monetary Occasions acknowledged us because the fourth city on the planet technique.
So the challenges have all the time existed and needed more because I do know we will do more, harness that human means, focus far more on the human capacity and work hand in hand with the administration as a result of despite the fact that we’re a decentralized entity, we’re the mayor of Medellín , we’re in the metropolitan space, as our identify implies, so we are very lively with these players, these allies, chambers of commerce, personal corporations, universities, which has characterised the Medellín transformation and continues to vary, and there’s continuity within the processes. So if we continue to work collectively, the results can be seen, and that is proof that the outcomes are seen and the impression is far higher.
Finance Colombia: When you take a look at the subsequent five years, for instance, what do you take a look at? Some issues are underneath ACI management, like the agency, however there are additionally external elements, no one knows what's happening in the financial system, the worth of oil, but what can ACI do? Particularly chatting with the world, discussing with buyers and corporations, what is your perception of the alternatives ACI presents?
Catalina Restrepo: I might like it if ACI had, I don't know if there is a department, a space or some professionals who are solely and solely dedicated to providing collaboration. ACI and Medellin at the moment are prepared. We’d like the world to vary us presently, I consider that as we speak, and given the weekly info we get weekly from Medellin, my dream is that Medellin can start transmitting this data and people good practices, because what happens? It's not that they’re copied verbatim, no, because Medellín has a reality, San José de Costa Rica has another reality.
But if there is something here that has already worked and might be adapted to San Jose de Costa Rica, how is it not shared with that metropolis? So this city is rising. So I discover it unimaginable, we have now made progress, however it takes lots of time and requires people who find themselves solely devoted to it. That may be one of my goals, I might like it if it could possibly be achieved. In other phrases, specializing in investing a bit more, Medellin has great potential.
If we might have more, extra individuals in funding issues, which I feel is the important thing, because if we examine ourselves immediately to the totally different funding promotion businesses within the nation, our workforce is small to realize the results we’ve achieved. So I know that a bit extra humane capacity, we will achieve many different things, and I am assured that the company will proceed to grow, it’s going to continue to vary and continue to realize nice things in Medellín, and that's all one needs, because we are local and we need to succeed Medellín properly, as a result of if Medellin is doing nicely, we’re doing properly.
Finance Colombia: Sure.
Catalina Restrepo: As a citizen.
Financing Colombia: Talking to buyers and businessmen all over the place, it's like Medellín has achieved an amazing deal in current many years. Medellin, for example, has already largely surpassed Medellin's historic status of 1993 relating to characters, crime, well-being, or anything, and Medellin additionally lately has a status for its talent, know-how. When talking to many software corporations and business investment corporations which have industrial production centers, you speak to those executives who might already understand that "ah yes, Medellin has the technology", Medellin is protected and I really don't need to be hijacked from the airport or all these risks, but the actuality continues to amaze businessmen once they are available or speak to them and speak concerning the value of Medellin or about offering Medellin or what Medellin has in store, what still surprises you? The truth that there are individuals – technical capacity, I know it's protected, I do know I can fly there three hours away from america. What’s it that still surprises you that you simply nonetheless don’t understand Medellín, which frustrates you in this urban orientation course of?