Day 5: The opportunities are there for Britain – we just need to fly there and take them!
On the final day of the Trade Mission to Colombia, the delegation spent the day in Medellin – Colombia’s second-largest city. Heathrow Corporate Affairs Executive Director Clare Harbord’s fifth and final blog rounds off a successful mission to the South American country.
We had a packed day in Medellin – Colombia’s second largest city today – starting with some political meetings ahead of regional elections and then moving on to a tour of a large liquor factor to see a successful Colombian exporter in action.
A journey to be proud of
At lunch we met the Chief Executive of the Medellin Chamber who was very pleased we had come to her city. As they were last night, the guests were very proud of the journey Medellin has been on from one of the most dangerous cities in the world to a magnet for enterprise and innovation. The Colombian guests talked about infrastructure as a big area of opportunity for UK firms, especially businesses with skills in running long term projects and successful public private partnerships. There is a shortage of land for development in Medellin give the rapid expansion so they are now looking for firms with experience of renewing and developing existing housing and other buildings so that the cities growth is not constrained.
Another area of potential collaboration is healthcare. The guests strongly felt that Britain’s expertise in healthcare could be useful as they continue to build their social infrastructure, giving UKTI and London Chamber a good steer for future collaboration. The Medellin Chamber and guests all wanted to know when they might get a direct link into Heathrow and were pleased to hear that this year may be the year that Heathrow gets the go-ahead for expansion after the Airports Commission concludes – as this is the only way we can get new slots for new routes to exciting secondary cities in emerging markets.
We then flew back to Medellin and on to Bogota for one last reception at the Ambassador’s residence. This one was held specifically to support Solar Century, one of the companies on the mission and with 100 guests in attendance they certainly had a good chance of making and cementing the relationships they need to be successful in Colombia.
Time to fly back to Heathrow. This trip has really opened my eyes to the prospects for our exporters in markets such as Colombia. The opportunities are there for Britain – we just need to fly there and take them!
– Clare Harbord
Find out more about the mission and read Clare’s previous blogs from Colombia, here.