Israeli entrepreneurs get a taste of business on the border

They explore the many development opportunities in San Diego and Tijuana

Israeli entrepreneurs get a taste of business on the borderAsistentes y Panelistas. Brenda Colón/
Asistentes y Panelistas. Brenda Colón/

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SAN DIEGO.- Students and entrepreneurs from the Rady School of Management's U.S.-Israel Center of Innovation and Economic Sustainability, gathered in San Diego to learn more about development opportunities in the "Cali-Baja" region, with the hopes of aiding economic growth in it. The event was organized by the University of California in San Diego (UCSD) and IPG, a specialized investment group.

Notable businessmen from the cross-border region like Flavio Olivieri, Gregorio Goldstein, Moisés Abadi, Alan Sánchez and Ramón Toledo were invited to present the current panorama for "Cali-Baja" to these young Israeli business people. They talked about the challenges facing both San Diego and Tijuana, while showing similarities between the region and Israel, particularly the opportunities that new companies can take advantage of in all three nations.

The Downtown San Diego event began with a speech by Flavio Olivieri, who, as president of the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation (EDC), presented the "Cali-Baja" protect, a group of businesses from San Diego County, Imperial County and all five Baja California municipalities working towards bringing investments to the binational region.

International airports, seaports, and more than 3 million jobs generated in several areas are just some of the region's qualities, and all part of what it needs to become one of the strongest economies in the world. For now, "Cali-Baja" has consolidated itself as the strongest economic node along the U.S.-Mexico border, but it could also become a global marker, which currently could be considered as the sixth largest globally.

The presence of businessmen from across the border is a way of simply presenting the full range of what the San Diego binational region can offer, said Flavio Olivieri. "It is an opportunity to initiate ties with Israel, as we have many similarities as a region, and Baja California in particular", says the businessman, especially because of the type of technology that is being developed and its vision of truly internationalizing small businesses. Greater ties with Israel's innovative ecosystem "will allow us to promote more entrepreneurial and globalizing programs for small and medium-sized businesses in the region" added the Tijuana EDC president. He also added that while the Israeli market wasn't particularly huge, it does represent a platform from which to expand into the Middle-East and Eastern Europe.

The panel continued with the participation of a pair of business leaders from the Mexican Jewish community: Gregorio Goldstein and Moisés Abadi. They highlighted the negative effects of recent tax reforms in Mexico that have, according to them, damaged the southern side's competitiveness against its northern neighbor, possibly turning allies into direct competition.

Abadi also noted that, while it was important for a region's wellbeing to simply generate businesses and streamline development, one mustn't ignore a businessmen's personal wellbeing. As long as one still has the capacity to enjoy what he or she does, the project will have a long and productive lifespan.

Both Goldstein and Abadi, coincided that every business or project has to start by knowing what the consumer needs, and within that universe lies every opportunity successful projects need. In regards to the border, not just in Mexico and the United States, but also in other parts of the world, these regions are "different animals" that not everyone can understand, but those who could, would enhance their possibilities for success.

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