Starbucks se lanzaría a competirle al tradicional Juan Valdez

El presidente mundial de la compañía revelará los pormenores de una eventual incursión en Colombia.

A pesar del hermetismo con que se ha manejado la noticia, todo indica que Juan Valdez y otras marcas fuertes del país tendrán que abrirle espacio a un competidor de mucho peso: el gigante Starbucks. Los rumores de los últimos días sobre la llegada de estas tiendas a Colombia se confirmarán hoy, en una rueda de prensa que ofrecerá en Bogotá el presidente mundial de la compañía, Howard Shultz.

El interés de Starbucks en Colombia no es nuevo y la empresa estadounidense lo demostró el año pasado con la apertura de un laboratorio de calidad de café en Manizales.

“A esto hay que sumarle que un porcentaje del café que vende es producido en Nariño y que su relación con nuestro país cada vez es más cercana”, dijo un vocero de la Federación Nacional de Cafeteros, quien afirmó que la noticia de este desembarco no asusta al sector. “Por el contrario, la llegada de esta compañía sería un dinamizador para un mercado cada vez más activo”, afirmó.

Fernando Casas, director de franquicia maestra y marketing de Alsea, la empresa que maneja la marca Starbucks en varios países de la región, se abstuvo de confirmar o desmentir la incursión en Colombia y reiteró que “solo el presidente mundial ahondará en detalles sobre el tema”.

Cabe recordar que, recientemente, este operador de establecimientos de comida rápida, cafeterías y platos casuales en América Latina llegó a un acuerdo para adquirir el ciento por ciento de Starbucks Chile y Argentina. Además, opera las 492 tiendas que tiene en estos países y en México.

REDACCIÓN ECONOMÍA Y NEGOCIOS
Fuente: El Tiempo

Satélites ‘made in’ Colombia listos para ir al espacio

Satélites 'made in' Colombia listos para ir al espacio

Sequia Space se especializó en la construcción de picosatélites y nanosatélites.

La empresa colombiana Sequoia Space tendrá su primera misión internacional en septiembre.

La industria aeroespacial ya no es exclusiva de EE.UU., Rusia o Europa. Colombia se ha hecho un hueco en esa reducida elite gracias a la labor de cuatro ingenieros que, desde un discreto y modesto edificio del popular barrio de Chapinero, en Bogotá, desarrollan satélites y misiones espaciales.

Su primera misión internacional tendrá lugar el próximo mes de septiembre, cuando lanzarán desde Cabo Cañaveral, en Estados Unidos, su primer satélite, el peruano UAPSAT, informó Colombia.inn, agencia especializada en innovación y emprendimiento.

Los protagonistas son Iván Luna, Andrés Alfonso, Elkin Cifuentes y Carlos Suárez, fundadores de Sequoia Space, pioneros de este campo en Colombia desde el sector privado y caracterizados, además, por su juventud: la edad de tres de ellos ronda los 30 años.

Todo comenzó en la Universidad Sergio Arboleda de Bogotá, donde Iván y Andrés fueron designados para integrar el equipo que desarrolló un picosatélite, denominado así por su forma de cubo y bautizado como ‘Libertad 1′.

Ese satélite se puso en órbita en abril de 2007 desde Kazajistán y meses después estos jóvenes, entonces con apenas 25 años, crearon Sequoia Space, animados por las felicitaciones que les llegaron desde la Universidad de Stanford, en California (EE.UU.).

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Is Colombia The Indonesia Of Latin America?

by Heather West

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Colombia is growing despite its violent past (source: Olivia Fernandez, London)

For several years now global investors have looked to the Southeast Asian archipelago of Indonesia as one of the great growth opportunities in Asia-Pacific, with its natural resources, its fast-growing economy and 250 million people to pay for Western soft drinks, laundry detergent and banking services.

After recently returning from four years in Asia, I now sense the same whiff of mystique and intrigue about Colombia as I did with Indonesia, with optimistic investors citing statistics about its growth potential and yet still huddling up to discuss concerns about illicit activity.

Many ask, why Colombia? After all, the name is still largely synonymous with the drug trade for many Americans who watched Hollywood flicks in the 90s. And a simple scan on Amazon for books about Colombia will return results primarily for travel guides, and one titled: Bang Colombia: Textbook On How To Sleep With Colombian Women. Another on the list is More Terrible Than Death: Drug, Violence and America’s War in Colombia.

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The Daily Startup: Colombia Cybersecurity Startup to Go Global

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Easy Solutions has raised $11 million in Series B funding for technology that protects companies through the entire life cycle of computerized fraud–from planning to launching to cashing in on an attack–as it prepares to expand from Latin America into the global market. The company was founded in Bogota, Colombia, by Chief Executive Ricardo Villadiego, a computer security specialist, along with his wife and a friend.

China Renaissance Capital Investment is raising a $100 million venture capital fund in what will be the firm’s first standalone investment vehicle. Known as Huaxing Capital Partners LP, the venture fund will be invested in technology, media and telecommunications companies across the mainland, according to a person familiar with the fundraising process. The firm will tap international, including U.S., investors.

Also in today’s VentureWire, Drugmakers targeting Alzheimer’s disease have largely zeroed in on plaques forming in the brain, but Acumen Pharmaceuticals believes it’s found a better target. The company just raised $700,000 in the first of a three-tranche Series A round that will total $20 million…Tiger Global Management has led a $50 million investment to buy a secondary stake in Automattic, the company behind the open-source blogging software known as WordPress, as new money continues to flow into Web publishing tools…and Evoke Pharma and Prosensa Holding registered Friday with U.S. securities regulators for planned initial public offerings, joining a growing list of companies eager to test the appetite of public markets for clinical-stage drug developers.

(VentureWire is a daily newsletter with comprehensive analysis of all the investments, deals and personnel moves involving startups and their venture backers. For a two-week trial, visit our homepage, scroll to the bottom and click “try for free.”)

Colombia ~ Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Sunday @ 9 pm ET on CNN

The public face of Colombia has changed immensely over the past ten years and is still changing for the better. Tony will explore several regions of the country from the mountains down to the Caribbean coast to the coca leaf growing inlands formerly controlled by drug cartels.

Don’t fear Colombia, enjoy it

I’d thought my unconditional love for Colombia was well established there. I’d visited for speaking engagements. I’d made a giddily enthusiastic episode of a previous series in Medellin and Cartagena. I’d waxed poetically and often about how well I’ve always been treated, how thrilling it is to see how far the country has come from its bad old days.

I’m a fan of its people, its music, its food and its disarmingly injured pride.

But coming out of the remote jungle village of Miraflores, I made a mistake.

I tweeted a photo of myself standing under a shade tree surrounded by young Colombian military recruits.

My old friend and Top Chef colleague Tom Colicchio tweeted right back: “Too soon” — connecting the appearance of machine guns with the then recent Newtown massacre.

I tweeted back that “this is what it looks like in FARC country.”

Of course I meant “territory recently controlled by the FARC,” the unpleasant Marxist guerilla group who’d been terrorizing Colombia for decades with kidnappings, assassinations and worse. They operate hand in glove with the cartels — essentially shaking them down and providing them with protection — in return for funds. And, indeed, not too long before I arrived at the dirt airstrip, merchants in the small town are said to have accepted payment for basic goods and services with coca paste.

Now, Miraflores is swarming with army and police. The FARC, by almost all accounts, have been beaten back significantly.

The phrase “FARC country” was not, however, interpreted as intended, as meaning an area, a neighborhood, a territory once under FARC control. Not in Colombia.

Colombians were outraged.

“I do NOT live in FARC country” and “How come you glorify those bastards?” were common responses. The twittersphere blew up with pissed off, deeply offended Colombians reading second-hand reports of what I was believed to have said. Many misidentified the young soldiers in the photo as being guerillas.

Our fixers and drivers were very, very unhappy — in the uncomfortable position of being closely associated with someone (me) who was (for the next couple of days, anyway) widely thought to be a FARC sympathizer.

Things bled into the print media, and it was a tough couple of days.

It was a clumsy, ill-worded and foolish thing for me to have done.

Colombia is NOT, for the record, “a FARC country.” Far from it.

As I should well have known, the struggle between the FARC, the cartels and various right-wing militias has been deeply felt by nearly every Colombian family. Opinions — even perceived opinions — can have consequences. Just about everybody you talk to — even in a present day Colombia that is much, much safer and secure — has lost someone to violence from one side or the other.

Colombians — more than anyone — have paid a terrible price in lives for the world’s seemingly bottomless appetite for cocaine, and for the greed of a relative few. And if you ever wondered “how come they don’t get a handle on things down there,” all you need to do is look at the place. The country is huge. It is about 70% sparsely populated (and gorgeous) jungle, mountains and coastline opening up onto both the Caribbean and the Pacific. It is ideologically divided. And it has neighbor problems. Venezuela next door has been all too happy to provide safe haven and even covert military assistance to the FARC. Panama’s Darien Gap offers some of the world’s most impenetrable jungles.

Colombia has been very successful in recent years in its war on cartel- and FARC-related violence. But the ludicrous futility of any fully successful “war on drugs” is apparent with a single look out of a plane window.

In spite of all its painful history, Colombia is emerging as what SHOULD be a vacation wonderland.

Have I said yet how beautiful the place is? It’s incredible.

It’s fun. And, yes, it’s safe. Every day, more so.

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Cartagena has some of the most beautiful colonial architecture you’re likely to find anywhere in Latin America. A great bar scene. Amazing food and architecture.

Medellin is a modern, sophisticated, enormously enjoyable place to spend time. It’s as far from its image as a murder capital as you can imagine.

And people are heartbreakingly welcoming and happy to see visitors who have come to their beautiful country for something other than to talk about narcos and violence.

Cali is a party town to rival Miami. The beaches along the coasts are as unspoiled as your wildest fantasies.

And yet many people still don’t go.

I would urge you to put aside the stereotypes.

If you want to find bad people in Colombia, you can surely find them, as you could in New York or Los Angeles. But nowhere have my crew and I been treated better or with more kindness and generosity. I’d bring my family on vacation there in a heartbeat. And hope to soon. As I said before: Colombians are proud. Let them show you what they are proud of.

That said, this week’s Colombia episode of ‘Parts Unknown’ marks another great moment in Bourdainian stupidity.

Faithful viewers of my previous program on that other, less good network, might remember my previous misadventure on an ATV. You’d think I would have learned from that experience, a long barrel roll down a sand dune wrapped around a few hundred pounds of metal and machinery. I was very, very lucky to have emerged from that experience with limbs and skull intact. That maybe I’d be smart enough to realize that maybe off road vehicles were just not for me.

No.

In Colombia, I saddled up once again, and as you’ll see managed to fly off the seat, drive my head straight into the ground (helmet-less, of course) and (my producers insist) somehow succeed in running over my own head.

Though I was “out” for a brief microsecond there, I remember bounding to my feet, unwilling to be embarrassed by the glaringly obvious: I should have worn the helmet they offered. I should have driven more carefully. I probably shouldn’t have been — given my record — driving the damn thing at all.

Comedy Gold.

Source: CNN – Parts Unknown

Tourism in Colombia: Breaking the Spell of Negative Publicity.

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Negative perceptions die hard. The February 2012 U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ travel warning for Mexico began this way: “Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day.”

In contrast, the analogous warning for Colombia was: “The Department of State reminds U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Colombia.” Consider that, in 2009, there was one intentional homicide per 100,000 in Mexico, and just 0.5 in Colombia, according to the United Nations’ “Global Study on Homicide 2011.” In 2011, there were 1,327 kidnappings in Mexico, compared with 298 in Colombia, according to InSightCrime.org and a January 2012 El Espectador article. This equates to a 75% higher per capita kidnapping rate in Mexico. Colombia’s immense economic potential is still held back by a now-inaccurate image of terrorism and violence.

The greater Colombian economy — specifically its tourism industry — is the best positioned of any in Latin America to expand steadily in the coming decades. Its breadth of geographic, natural resource and labor diversity positions it advantageously. However, it has failed over the last decade to capitalize on this advantage through poor brand management, a misunderstanding of the importance of its international perception and a number of larger, strategic infrastructural challenges. Other Latin American countries, even some with violent histories, have better managed these challenges. Colombia can still transform itself into the premier tourism destination at the center of the Americas.

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A new democratic dawn in Colombia?

Colombia may have one of Latin America´s oldest and longest running democracies but the criticism has always been that hers is a democracy only at the time of an election, that away from the physical act of voting, the society has very little involvement in the running of the country. 2012 is beginning to look like the year this began to change.

Citizen movements are growing more vocal and more active by the day, and what is more important, they are starting to achieve success, forcing the government to change policy and securing the resignation of key political figures.

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