Chamber News

Doing Business in Latin America: a letter to Suffolk

Doing Business in Latin America: a letter to Suffolk

Gaby Castro-Fontoura, director at Sunny Sky Solutions, is coming all the way from Uruguay to bring Latin America closer to companies in Suffolk, at a Suffolk Chamber International event on 26 January. Here she outlines here Suffolk connections:

"The first time I knew about Suffolk was when I received a postcard from my then college room-mate and lifetime soul-mate, Abby. I was living in Uruguay, where I grew up, and Abby sent me a postcard to introduce herself. That was back in 1999 and little did I know that nearly twenty-years later I would be presenting to Suffolk businesses on doing business with Latin America. In the meantime, I managed to even get married to my Suffolk-born university boyfriend and have two children who are rather keen to visit the grandparents in Bury St Edmunds again soon.

So Suffolk and Uruguay are very much together in my heart and in my daily life. But Uruguay and Latin America in general might be rather distant to most Suffolk businesses and I always ask myself why. After all, we have Suffolk sheep in Uruguay (you have to pronounce it with a Northern English accent, though, Soo-folk) and a lot of people know about Newmarket Racecourse. Latin America won’t be shocking, at least culturally, to most local businesses, and there’s no etiquette to be worried about. What you need is to understand Latin America, see the opportunities, be aware of the risks, and find the right people to deal with.

That’s why I am delighted that the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has invited me to present to Suffolk businesses on 26th January about opportunities in Latin America. I’ve been working nearly seven years as a consultant and have supported over 40 British companies across Latin America. You will find brands like Twinings  Tea, Mackays Jams, Barbour clothes and Fever Tree mixer drinks in countries such as Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Brazil. But, more interestingly to me, you will also find British products that most people have never heard of. From cable cleats to pollination bags, from static eliminators to alcohol sensors for breathalysers, from energy blocks for cattle to screw jacks, we have worked with a wide range of manufacturers that have cracked such distant markets.

The distance between Latin America and Suffolk in particular is real in the sense that it will take you a good 12-24 hours to reach your destination in that region. But to me the largest distance these days has to do with perceptions of Latin America in the UK, and a lack of understanding of that region and the opportunities it brings. That’s why I’ll be in Suffolk soon, to bring the real Latin America closer to you, and for you to ask lots of questions and share your experience of doing business in the region. I look forward to seeing you soon!"

For more information and to reserve a space at our Doing Business in Latin America click here

Article by Suffolk Chamber