Costa Rica: where business evolves

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| The European | 25th October 2019
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Costa Rica is a country rich in unique value – a value delivered and maintained by a highly skilled workforce. Costa Rica attracts businesses who know the importance of excellence, leveraging growth through sophistication, collaboration and innovation. With its prime location at the heart of the Americas, Costa Rica is a leading destination for shared services centres (SSC) – to date, 300 companies have chosen it as a base for operations.

The country was recently ranked in the top five SSC locations globally in Deloitte’s 11th biennial “Global Shared Services Survey”, scoring highly in “cost efficiency” and “driving business value” – two of the top strategic priorities for global business services and investors.

The 2019 survey indicates that SSCs are evolving to more global, multifunctional models, which are expected to provide true ROI through cost efficiency. In fact, they are shifting from being a mere provider to a generator of tangible business value, integrating more and more business units to become enterprise-wide centres of excellence. When evaluating location decisions, the Deloitte survey indicates a five-fold increase in respondents considering “labour quality” as a key metric; on this front, and on many others, Costa Rica delivers.

Investing in people

Having removed its standing army in 1948, Costa Rica has been able to focus on its people, investing where it matters most. Governed in peace for more than 200 years, this country’s rock-solid democracy allocates 7.36% and 10% of its GDP to education and health respectively. This has allowed it to establish the top-ranking human capital in Latin America and the 29th in the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness Report, 2018”. The very best graduates in Latin America drive Costa Rica’s labour pool. Its academic institutes prepare tech-savvy, multilingual professionals, with a steady flow of STEM graduates capable of working under the most rigorous standards, growing by over 6% annually.

The high level of specialisation among Costa Rican professionals is a key element in the success and development of the companies that invest here. Its talent pool is prepared to confront shifting dynamics in the markets and environments where global business is shaped.

Costa Rica delivers over 100 different business processes in more than 10 languages. It has evolved from transactional, low-impact back office, contact centre and corporate functions, to multifunctional knowledge intensive services, such as engineering, IT, robotic process automation, and R&D.

As a true reflection of Costa Rica’s efficiency and productivity, from 1999 to 2017, life sciences companies operating in the country experienced a 63% productivity growth, while the services sector has grown 100% from 2005 to 2017, measured by the value of exports per employee, according to 2018 data collected by the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE).
In 2019, the renowned Shingo Institute – part of the Jon M. Huntsman Business School at Utah State University – awarded three companies based in Costa Rica with the “Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence” – the world’s highest recognition for operational excellence. Boston Scientific won the 2019 Prize category, and Hologic Surgical Products and Bridgestone Shared Services Center both won the
Silver category.

Next-gen solutions

A dynamic ecosystem has transformed Costa Rica into a natural lab for next-generation solutions and positioned it as a leading delivery hub, where innovation fuels development. In 2018, the country took first place in Latin America for efficiency and innovation according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

This ecosystem is the result of a cross-sector collaboration network, which brings together cutting-edge multinational and local companies with an academic sector that specialises in retooling and reskilling according to the latest trends and technologies. All of this is closely coordinated by the government to ensure Costa Rica’s business climate is primed for commercial development.   

Emerging and disruptive technologies have become a key priority for organisations around the world to remain relevant. Greater connectivity, enhanced innovation and megatrends have changed the way we do business.

The convergence of technologies such as the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence, have a significant influence in how we address complex global challenges, and have the potential to unlock long-term and sustainable development. In this context, Costa Rica stands out as a Latin American strategic hub, a place where digital meets sustainability to drive customer-centric solutions.

On the 4th and 5th of November, Costa Rica will host Megaminds in Megatrends, an event which will further demonstrate the country’s global impact on digital transformation. Over 700 participants will be able to catch-up on the latest global shifts and emerging megatrends and connect with local and international peers.

What is clear is that multinational companies will continue to seek new ways to become more agile and efficient in order to deliver high-impact business outcomes. And, when they’re looking for the ideal business hub to help, they’ll know where to find it.

Further information

www.cinde.org

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