#peopleinournetwork

Have you met Orlando Baquero?

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For German companies doing business in Latin America, the name Orlando Baquero probably rings a bell. His strong commitment to Latin America and Germany, and his passion to build bridges, make him a significant person in our Latin America network.

 

Today, we ask Orlando Baquero, General Manager at Lateinamerika Verein e.V. in Hamburg (LAV).

When Orlando Baquero accepted the General Manager position at LAV in 2018, he knew this would be the perfect job to link his commitment to Latin America and Germany and his long-term experiences in doing business there. Born in Bogotá, Colombia, he founded, developed, restructured, reorganised, sold and winded-down companies and entities of international corporates from various industries in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico. The bridge to Germany is a constant in his life: His father grew up in Germany, he visitied the German School in Bogotá, enjoyed an exchange year in the Lüneburger Heide and studied business administration at Hamburg University. His father was in Germany, when the Berlin Wall was built, Orlando studied in Hamburg, when the German reunificaiton took place. Building bridges, open-mindedness and a good portion of curiosity and fun determine his attitude.

Orlando Baquero, what comes to your mind when you think about Mexico?

Mexio is an amazing country! Jungles in the South, deserts in the North, caribbean beaches in the West, mountains, volcanoes in the middle. Additionally, the country looks back on an exciting history from the ancient aztec and maya culture to a modern society, culminating in the vivid metropolis of Mexico City. In Mexico, you find everything Latin America has to offer!

From an economic perspective, Mexico is an interesting market. Even more, because of its integration into the UMSCA and its access to the US American and Canadian market. But: Mexico is definitely not an insider tip! You face tough international competition. If you are strong, Mexico is the place to be. Anyway, I would recommend everyone to look for reliable supporters like AHK, German Centre and Lateinamerikaverein, and collaborate with other German and international companies.

Currently, many companies are uncertain, because of the rather business-unfriendly federal government. But on local and state level, this might be completely different  Look into the details, there is a lot of potential, particularly in environmental technology, agriculture or the pharma and healthcare market. Many states support less large projects in these areas, it is worth to investigate participation opportunities. Mexicans are curious and open for new things, which are good preconditions to use the country also as a test lab for new products and services.

What was your first contact with the German Centres?

My first contact was in 2004, when I was looking for a new office in Mexico-City for the company I worked with at that time. AHK recommended me German Centre Mexico. The idea as a one-stop shop immediately made sense to me. The combination of offices, showrooms, networks, commu­nity and support was absolutely convincing. In the end, we didn’t move in because our Head Office preferred another location at the other end of the city.

When I started as General Manager at LAV, I reconnected with the German Centres when I met Gabriele Greiner, she is member of our Executive Committee. As Global Head of the German Centres, she has been developing the German Centres for about thirty years. The concept is as fresh as ever, especially in these volatile times as they are a reliable harbour for many companies from Germany.

What do the German Centres and LAV have in common?

Our main mission that we have in common is: Supporting companies in doing business in Latin America. The German Centre provides hands-on advice and acts as home base in Mexico. LAV is located in Germany and a network and information platform for all over Latin America. German Centre and LAV are a super complement and cooperation partner.

What is the main difference between Mexicans and Germans?

It is a clichée to think that Mexicans are not in time! The Mexicans only have a different approach to time: They take time, as business is a combination of work, joy and fun. I recommend to go out for a lunch at three in the afternoon and plan definitely more than one hour to build personal relationships, talk about business and enjoy a great time.

Thank you very much, Orlando Baquero!