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JalisConnect Opens Doors for Start-Up Tech Companies

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February 16, 2018

Kicking things off on February 15, JalisConnect introduced a new soft landing initiative that can offer office space, staffing, admin, and other services that enable a tech company to set up in Guadalajara.

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico - Mexico's Silicon Valley, Guadalajara, has opened its doors to entrepreneurs and businesses around the world, with this week's launch of JalisConnect initiative and a new Tech Visa.

Kicking things off on Thursday, February 15, JalisConnect introduced a new soft landing initiative that can offer office space, staffing, admin, and other services that enable a tech company to set up a team in Guadalajara.

Launching alongside it, the new Tech Visa program was developed by JalisConnect in collaboration with the Mexican consulate in San Francisco. The visa is essentially a re-purposed residential visa for international business people that are utilizing JalisConnect's soft landing program.

Visa Prerequisites and Conditions

Holders of the Tech Visa can stay in Guadalajara long term, as long as they only receive financial remuneration in the country where their company is registered.

Cuco Vega, Executive Director at Centro Jalisco
The financial requirements for the visa are that the individual can maintain themselves economically, with a minimum foreign income of US$2,000 per month. According to Cuco Vega, Executive Director at Centro Jalisco in San Francisco and ringleader for the JalisConnect program, this is the only prerequisite for the visa.

"We understand how hard it is for startups today that are not getting enough funding to actually succeed in Silicon Valley, so we want to bring them to a different ecosystem where they can grow and develop, and then connect them with other international ecosystems too," said Vega.

Once the financial requirements have been confirmed by the consulate, the visa can be turned around in less than 24 hours. Applicants are welcome to stay in Jalisco for up to four years, with the possibility of it being renewed at that time.

"While the visa can be obtained by people in any industry, we at Jalisconnect are focusing on people that either work in tech or have a tech company," said Vega. "The intention is for Jalisco and Jalisconnect to become a prototype model that can be replicated by other states at a later date, hopefully at a federal level. Also, the Tech Visa program should make people at a federal level look at the possibility of a real, more flexible working visa for international talent."

A Deeper, Long-term Focus

One of the key ideas behind the visa, Vega says, is to attract people that can act as mentors for local startups. They could be experienced industry veterans themselves, or even fresh-off-the-boat developers, as long as they either work for a company in the US, or own a company in the US.

Vega assures that there will be other countries where this visa will be applicable too, but right now the program is still in a prototype phase, so is under testing.

"This is the first project of its kind, so the experiment is likely to be tried, failed, and then be perfected over time, just like any good startup," he said. "As we are in the first phase of launching this, we will be registering as many partners as we can, from incubators and accelerators, to any kind of capital firms, from VCs to Angels and even banks, creating visibility for the platform and making it easier to connect to and grow the ecosystem."

Pre-launch Feedback

One early adopter is already seeing huge potential for the initiatives - Mita Ventures.

"Both programs, JalisConnect and the Tech Visa are the right thing to do at the right time," said Andreas Kraemer, Managing Partner at Mita Ventures. "Mexico has an opportunity to become less dependent on the US and, given the political environment there, is making the right steps to connect to other ecosystems, for example in Asia and Europe. Guadalajara, in particular, has a great opportunity here to expand on its status as the tech center of Mexico, but what is needed is more talent, more mentors, and more sophisticated investors to further develop the startup ecosystem."

Kraemer believes that JalisConnect and the Tech Visa will help toward these goals, stating that his company is a great supporter of the program.

"I immediately took the opportunity to move from the Bay Area to Guadalajara when I heard about the visa," he said. "There is so much happening in Jalisco that we needed to have a presence there, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Getting the right talent through the visa and making other startup ecosystems aware of what is going on in Guadalajara are two steps in the right direction," Kraemer added.

Read the full article at Click HERE to check out Near Shore Americas' unique infographic timeline that charts Guadalajara's history behind it becoming Mexico's Silicon Valley.