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AS/COA and Florida International University Launch Report 

MNC-SME Linkages in Latin America

August 07, 2018

Miami, August 7, 2018—A new Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and Florida International University (FIU) white paper explores how linkages between multinational corporations (MNCs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in Latin America can be leveraged for innovation, growth, and competitiveness. Across Latin America, SMEs play a vital role in economic growth and development, and multinationals increasingly join forces with them. This report argues that establishing new connections and enhancing existing ones will allow both to thrive in a globally interdependent economy.

The paper, MNC-SMC Linkages in Latin America, considers the types of connections that can be established between both actors and the factors that encourage and impede synergistic linkages. The white paper also outlines the findings from interviews conducted with top executives from six MNCs in Latin America spanning the technology, supply chain management, and financial services sectors. The interviews revealed that all MNCs subscribed to the importance of being part of and contributing to robust and vibrant digital ecosystems by either engaging directly with SMEs and developing technologies to meet their needs, or by working through networks of partners before doing so.

Prepared by FIU College of Business Information Systems & Business Analytics Clinical Professor Carlos M. Parra, Ph.D. and FIU professor and Director of Executive & Professional Education Jerry Haar, Ph.D., in partnership with the AS/COA Tech Series, the brief was launched in Miami on August 6 at a high-level roundtable discussion. At the event, Council of the Americas member company executives who contributed to the white paper, together with other senior business and tech leaders, discussed best practices for greater cooperation and collaboration between MNCs and SMEs.

“The AS/COA Tech Series has become a strong platform for thought leaders to explore digital opportunities and alliances, with many of its programs held in Miami, which is a critical hub for multinationals operating in Latin America and is at the forefront of building a robust digital ecosystem serving the Western Hemisphere,” said AS/COA Senior Director Nancy Anderson Bolton.

The main conclusions and recommendations of the white paper include:

  • The inherent difference in fit and size is the first factor that prevents linkages between MNCs and SMEs.
  • Government policies provide financing opportunities and technical assistance for SMEs, and labor, tax, and regulatory policies favorable to SMEs encourage linkages to MNCs.
  • SMEs often face investment and working capital constraints. MNCs can provide SME customers and partners with short-term financing and investment capital.
  • MNCs can strengthen linkages by developing technology platforms for SMEs and supporting networks of aggregators to help increase SMEs capabilities.

Read the full report here.

For media inquiries or to schedule interviews with the authors, please contact: | +1-212-277-8334.

Americas Society (AS) is the premier organization dedicated to education, debate and dialogue in the Americas. Established by David Rockefeller in 1965, our mission is to foster an understanding of the contemporary political, social and economic issues confronting Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, and to increase public awareness and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the Americas and the importance of the inter-American relationship.

Council of the Americas (COA) is the premier international business organization whose members share a common commitment to economic and social development, open markets, the rule of law, and democracy throughout the Western Hemisphere. The Council's membership consists of leading international companies representing a broad spectrum of sectors, including banking and finance, consulting services, consumer products, energy and mining, manufacturing, media, technology, and transportation.

AS/COA Tech Series features experts and leaders from the private sector, government, and academia to address the impact of technology in Latin America and the Caribbean, through private meetings with policy makers, private-sector roundtable discussions, and public forums. Best practices of COA corporate members in addressing digital advances and innovative solutions that promote inclusion, competitiveness, and regional economic development are highlighted among relevant stakeholders.

Florida International University’s College of Business plays a pivotal role in the development of global business leaders. With more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, FIU Business is widely recognized for its expertise in international business, data analytics, entrepreneurship, healthcare management, and a broad range of financial services. Its faculty ranks among the Top 100 in the U.S. in UT Dallas’ survey of business research productivity. For more information about FIU Business, visit:

This research was made possible with the contributions from COA corporate members: CISCO, Citi, Google, Microsoft, SAP, and UPS.

The AS/COA Tech Series is sponsored by CISCO and Google.