Why Costa Rica is a Thriving Latin America Tech Hub

Costa Rica has become one of the hottest spots in Latin America for technological development and entrepreneurship in recent years for several interesting reasons.

Perhaps first among them is the very well-educated population who are mostly bilingual. Close to 98% of the Costa Rican population is literate, and the country’s universities have developed an excellent reputation as some of the most prominent technology universities in Latin America.

Let’s look closer at the reasons why Costa Rica is a thriving Latin America tech hub

Costa Rican Entrepreneurial Activity

Costa Rica is one of the highest-ranking countries in Latin America for entrepreneurial activity, ranking sixth according to the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute. This is due to the large number of successful start-ups in Costa Rica which are thriving thanks to the many incubators and accelerators which enable new businesses to establish themselves and grow.

In 2019, Costa Rica hosted its first-ever ‘International Startups Congress’ which brought together industry leaders and talented entrepreneurs with investors from across the world. Successful projects were exhibited, and innovative ideas presented and shared with the international community. The event was a great success and injected even more energy into the entrepreneurial activity throughout Costa Rica.

Investment in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s political policies also offer plenty of attractive incentives for investors which has led to a boom in many different sectors such as technology, manufacturing, software and fintech.

The technology-centric business activity is also evident in Costa Rica’s number one export which is medical devices. For example, Boston Scientific is a manufacturer of many crucial medical devices used in interventional medical specialities such as interventional radiology and cardiology, peripheral interventions, neuromodulation and neurovascular intervention as well as cardiac and vascular surgery. To manufacture their products, they have invested over $130 million in Costa Rica since 2003.

Boston Scientific’s Vice President of Global Technology, Randy Schiestl, said of his organization’s investment: “Costa Rica has proven to be a compelling, performance-driven location for Boston Scientific.

“Key drivers for our success at two major sites in Costa Rica include highly committed, multi-disciplined local talent, cross-divisional engagement; growth into research and development, process development and lab competencies.”

Costa Rica’s Tech Hub Cities

Two Costa Rican cities are worth a special mention as they have become important hubs of technological development.

San José is home to well over 800 technology companies on its own, both local and global. Hewlett Packard Enterprise manages its IT services for Procter and Gamble and is fast becoming one of the largest private employers in all of Costa Rica. The Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica and even Microsoft have announced plans to start operations in San José, right in the heart of the old city’s previously abandoned area which is being redeveloped into a modern research and development campus.

Guanacaste is another tech hub that is growing in influence. There has been a huge surge of technological entrepreneurial activity in recent years thanks to the low cost of living and high quality of life. Companies like blockchain developer Nimiq, rocket science company Ad Astra Rocket and web designers like Unidad22 have all opened offices in Guanacaste.

It’s clear to see that all the value placed on high education, government help for start-ups and international investment are the driving forces behind Costa Rica’s rise to the top.

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