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Mercado Libre announces new tech and innovation hub in Colombia

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – Latin America’s largest e-commerce platform is keeping itself busy. Last Wednesday (10), Mercado Libre announced it would open a new tech and innovation center in Bogotá this year.

That translates to around 200 new job openings. That’s a real sight for sore eyes considering unemployment levels in Colombia have risen largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will open our first IT center in the country which will become the nucleus and motor to drive Mercado Libre’s technological capacities in Latin America,” stated Jaime Ramirez, the company’s Senior Director for the Andean Region.

Mercado Libre however didn’t disclose the price tag for setting up this new hub. Too bad, as last March it had touted how it would invest US$420 million in Mexico. If anything, it suggests that the amount invested in Colombia might be lower.

This marks the e-commerce platform’s fifth tech center in Latin America. Its other hubs are in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and its native Argentina.

Mercado Libre creates jobs

One cannot underestimate the significance of companies and startups creating jobs during this unusual point in time. By the end of April, unemployment levels in Colombia for example stood at 19.8 percent. That’s 9.5 percent higher compared to this same month in 2019 when it was at 10.3 percent.

Why it’s a big deal: As companies and startups announce expansions or job openings—regardless of the amount—it’s something worth celebrating. And within the Covid-19 context, those with products that tender to these unique circumstances have fared well and created these employment opportunities.

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For example, Brazilian JobHome had opened 800 jobs to satisfy high demand for its remote call center services.

In Argentina, Mercado Libre wants 2,200 more people to keep its operations running. Argentine fintech Ualá is also growing and launched 50 job openings during the pandemic.

All things considered, there is a lot of uncertainty in the air. So let’s try and celebrate the small victories, shall we?

Related articles: Tech and startups from Argentina!

-ML

Mariana López
My topic darlings are startup management, edtech, and all-things pop culture. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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