Trade Mission to Colombia: A great success!


From 25 to 30 November, an extensive trade mission for various sectors took place in Colombia. More than 100 companies from across the Kingdom of the Netherlands participated in the mission, which was combined with a state visit from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. TRANSFER LBC was commissioned by RVO to coordinate and implement the matchmaking for this grand event. This was done in cooperation with Holland House Colombia and the Dutch embassy in Bogotá.

The delegation consisted of companies from different sectors which included: Water & Logistics, Life Sciences & Health, Agribusiness & Horticulture, Bicycle Mobility, as well as a handful of Ministers and government officials from the Netherlands, Aruba and Curaçao. Dutch expertise is renowned and valued in Colombia, which gave this mission a significant importance. More than 70 companies had matchmaking meetings with Colombian counterparts which resulted in more than 500 meetings in total.
The mission began on Monday, in different cities – Cartagena, Cali and Medellin – where the groups gathered for the briefings and official start of the mission. The TRANSFER team was in Cartagena for the opening of the Water & Logistics sector where various individuals welcomed the delegation including Hanneke Schuiling - Director General for Foreign Economic Relations, Ministry of Foreign affairs – and TRANSFER’s own Marifer Aguirre. That afternoon the different delegations had their first matchmaking sessions and this intense first day ended with a relaxing cocktail for all participants and some Colombian counterparts.

On Tuesday the Bicycle delegation arrived in Bogotá, where they had a kick-off briefing by Hans de Boer - President of VNO-NCW - who welcomed the delegation to Colombia and prepared them for the week ahead. The same day, all other sectors were in their second day, filled with seminars and government visits in their respective cities. That same evening all delegations travelled to Bogotá.

Wednesday was the most intense day, as the second round of matchmake meetings took place in the afternoon. This was specifically challenging as Bogotá’s city center was shut down because of protests. Nevertheless, meetings continued as scheduled and in the evening the delegation was presented with a Trade Dinner together with Prime Minister Rutte, Minister Schouten, Minister Martina and Minister Ruiz Maduro. On this evening, various MOUs were signed, and Minister Martina even delighted everyone with his musical performance.

Thursday was the last day for all sectors except Bicycle Mobility, which had the opening of the BiciGo fair with Prime Minister Rutte. This was a special event, as the fair was delayed for a few months in order to be able to host it with the Prime Minister, seeing The Netherlands was its guest of honor this year. The fair continued until Sunday and the delegation also had 2 matchmaking sessions during their time at the fair.
During the mission there were several successful deals, which made the trade mission fruitful and very positive. The Colombian counterparts were very open about the developments in the market and seriously interested in the Dutch know-how and technologies. This mission has served as a good base for future cooperation between the two countries and the first contracts were signed in Colombia.

TRANSFER will be coaching some of the participating companies through a SIB coaching trajectory.

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