Updated: Mar 3
What do we need to know about the fascinating world of business and culture in Latin America? We are pleased to share with you the exciting events of our one-week seminar in February at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland in Olten. HOLATAM organized a comprehensive program exploring topics essential to our project's mission: We strive to ensure responsible production and consumption patterns. It featured over 15 guest speakers with expertise in economic, social and cultural spheres, sustainability, agriculture, and tourism. Among the highlights of the seminar were presentations by the Swiss-based ambassador of Colombia, H.E.Francisco Echeverri Lara and that of Peru, H.E. Luis Alberto Castro Joo, who shared their countries' unique characteristics and offered valuable recommendations for promoting our mission when onsite in Latin America. Let us dive into the topics of our seminar and discover aspects relevant to successful business practice in Latin America.
Figure 1: The ambassador of Colombia together with the Figure 2: The ambassador of Peru together with the
delegation and the HOLATAM team delegation and the HOLATAM team
Social and Cultural Importance
Given the cultural disparities between Latin America and Switzerland, we recognized the importance of acquiring insights into conducting business in Latin America. Experts like Enrique Ulloa, Honorary Council of Mexico in Basel and Felix Selinger, Senior Advisor & Independent Board Member, covered a broad range of topics, including cultural taboos and the benefit of knowing the Spanish language to facilitate successful and trustworthy communication. By gaining an understanding of cultural nuances and mastering effective negotiation techniques, we were empowered to approach our interactions with greater confidence and achieve successful outcomes.
Economic Growth Potential
Switzerland has a reputation as a safe and stable place to invest, while Latin America is seen as a region with high potential for growth. During the seminar, we learned from Sebastian Jung and Carolina Robayo from UBS that there are several economic aspects that could explain why Latin America and Switzerland may want to work more closely together and increase investment in each other. When doing so, Swiss investors could access new markets and opportunities for growth, while Latin American countries could benefit from Swiss expertise, technology, and capital.
Identifying Sustainable Tourism
Florie Thielin’s exploration of 16 countries provided valuable insights into sustainable tourism. The presentation emphasized the growing trend of hotels striving to earn sustainability certificates and the rising awareness among tourists regarding the environmental impact of their travel choices. It also inspired a discussion on how a hotel is classified as sustainable, and in what ways it can contribute to sustainable tourism.
The importance of sustainability topics in Peru and Colombia is increasing, such as reducing large-scale palm oil production in Colombia and other such relevant topics. Humberto Martínez Barrón y Robles, CEO of NERIT'E provided valuable opportunities to explore avenues for improvement in farming industries and their relationships with key stakeholders, with a focus on developing profitable yet sustainable strategies. Additionally, we were able to proactively address sustainable production and consumption cases in Peru using the design thinking approach introduced by Thorben Pfeil, Rania Spinnler and Biancamaria Tedesco from Deloitte. Our company visit to Stadtpilze in Basel enabled us insights into a company already applying the many aspects of sustainable agriculture. We learned about their innovative approaches to growing mushrooms using ingredients like coffee stock.
Figure 3: Company visit at Stadtpilze in Basel
In addition to the informative speeches, workshops, and company visits, the Seminar in Switzerland offered a unique opportunity to network. Our participants had several opportunities to interact with the delegates of the other International Student Projects: joint theme lunches, a few joint speeches such as those of Nestlé’s Chris Hogg (Head of Sustainability and Communications - Zone Asia, Oceania and Africa) and Marc Blaser, CEO of Blaser Swisslube and main sponsor, along with a joint career fair and a concluding Apéro - they all provided platforms for networking and exchanging ideas on the respective projects, their themes and destinations – and future job opportunities.
We are grateful to every participant and supporter for making our Seminar in Switzerland a valuable experience!
Are you interested in learning more about this seminar, our daily activities and guest speakers from renowned companies? Visit our LinkedIn and Instagram pages. And keep following us during our upcoming seminar in Colombia!
Your HOLATAM communications team!