The Gables Goes to Argentina
The ostensible purpose of the trip last month, which saw a dozen representatives of the city wing their way south to Argentina, was to sign and shake hands with our latest sister city, San Isidro. That was accomplished, but so were numerous business liaisons that could blossom with our southern neighbor.
Team Coral Gables included Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli; acting head of the city’s Economic Development Department Belkys Perez; Chamber of Commerce President Mark Trowbridge; and Olga Ramudo, who chairs the city’s Economic Development Board – along with various private sector participants. Also on board – and technically the lead agency – were members of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. “The purpose of the mission was to make contact with the government and businesses in Argentina, and to gauge their interest in expanding into the U.S. – primarily in Miami and Coral Gables,” said Perez. “For Coral Gables, the main mission was to go to San Isidro to establish a sister city relationship.” Why San Isidro? “It’s the same type of city, a suburb to Buenos Aires, as we are to Miami,” said Mayor Valdés-Fauli. “It also has a lot of businesses, the same population size, the same technology systems [for crime control] – and it’s a beautiful, tree lined city.” One advantage such a relationship brings, said Perez, is shared best practices. “They have a very robust downtown, with a lot of people shopping – and it wasn’t tourist generated, but local… The tips and information we get from the shops can translate to our downtown.”
Team Coral Gables also met in Buenos Aires with the U.S. embassy, the U.S. chamber, the Argentine chamber, Argentine senators, and 60 private businesses, to better understand the volatile political situation in Argentina and how it will unfold after the late October election of leftist Alberto Fernandez as president. “The takeaway was there are many parties interested in expanding to the U.S. due to the political situation,” says Perez.
That is one reason that Gables-based business consultant Carolina Reindero joined the mission. “I came out of there with new business,” said Reindero, who snagged three clients on the trip. One of them has already agreed to exhibit in eMerge Americas, the annual high-tech conference put on by Gables entrepreneur Manny Medina. “As for the city of San Isidro, it’s got the water and the lovely buildings and the beautiful trees,” she says. Sounds like home.