The challenge for Gutiérrez-Novelo once Mexico 4.0 leaves CES 2018, however, will be to continue pushing these efforts back home. He said there’s already a plan to ensure that the show is just the start of something big, not just for the 20 lucky companies who were selected to be a part of the initial project, but for Mexico as a whole. Essentially, what the government and Gutiérrez-Novelo want to create is sort of an incubator to that helps entrepreneurs and startups grow into established entities, by providing all the necessary resources to create and develop ideas.
Of course, it’s no secret that the Mexican government doesn’t have the best reputation, what with talks of corruption always looming large over the country and its officials. Gutiérrez-Novelo believes that projects like Mexico 4.0 can help get rid of that stigma and move the country in the right direction. He added that one of the reasons he decided to work with the government is Mexico’s Minister of Innovation, Jaime Reyes, a former Vice President of Hewlett Packard for over 20 years. Gutiérrez-Novelo said Reyes was one of the officials who pushed the Mexico 4.0 project forward, and that he’s an official who truly wants to change Mexico from within.
“I want to remove that bad perception of Mexico,” Gutiérrez-Novelo said, “and the only way is by setting an example. There’s more good people in Mexico than bad people.” He added that while he had never worked with the government prior to this, he was immediately interested in the idea of creating a larger tech culture in the country. “It was interesting because [the government] had a lot of years of doing things the same way, and that clearly wasn’t working,” he said.
Rogelio Garza Garza, Mexico’s undersecretary of industry and commerce, told Engadget that, since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012, the goal has been to “transform to digital economy” and capitalize on the tech boom. That’s what’s driving initiatives like Mexico 4.0, which Garza Garza hopes will inspire people from all over the country and of all ages to innovate in the space. One of the main focuses after CES will be attracting that talent and providing them with the necessary resources to succeed, including improved education curriculums, scholarships and offering capital to entrepreneurs who need it.
If that human talent doesn’t exist or thrive, Garza Garza said it will be impossible to create an ecosystem of tech companies that the country can be proud of. “Mexico is in this [growing] process,” he said. “Sometimes maybe you think it’s going very, very slowly. But no, we work a lot. It’s difficult when you have years [of coming from behind].” Garza Garza knows it might take years before Mexico 4.0 can be called a success, but he believes the government’s heart is in the right place with the program.