IBM Opens First Innovation Center in Mexico

IBM announced the opening of its first IBM Innovation Center in Mexico, which is also its first center opening of 2011.

IBM has announced its presence in a key growth market by opening the first new IBM Innovation Center of 2011 in Mexico City.

The March 15 announcement marks the seventh Innovation Center IBM has opened in growth markets over the past two years, after Brazil, Vietnam, Philippines, Poland, South Africa and Romania. At the same time, IBM is launching its Global Entrepreneur program in Mexico, offering local entrepreneurs no-cost access to IBM resources and experts to help bring new technologies to market.

IBM opened this first Innovation Center in Mexico as part of its efforts to fuel global innovation. At the opening, local startups, venture capitalists, developers and academics gathered at the center to begin building new skills that will drive innovation across industries such as banking, communications, health care, retail and government.

The Mexico center joins a worldwide network of 39 IBM Innovation Centers in 32 countries. The center is the first to open in 2011, as IBM marks its centennial anniversary and 84-year presence in Mexico. Through this network, IBM connects local companies and entrepreneurs with technical and industry experts around the world and can support growth with introductions into new markets. And, as of the center's opening, IBM will offer Mexican startup companies no-charge access to IBM software, researchers, and technical and business experts to help develop and launch new business ideas through the IBM Global Entrepreneur initiative.

"Mexico is experiencing significant growth in IT opportunities," said Hugo Santana, general manager of IBM Mexico, in a statement. "With access to the right skills and resources, we can build a stronger Mexican IT community that is prepared to compete on the global IT innovation stage."

Industry analyst firm BMI predicts IT spending in Mexico will continue to increase 11 percent in 2011 to $13.6 billion. This IT growth is fueled by new government services and support infrastructure projects and growing interest in cloud computing across many industries. While the Mexican software opportunity is projected to grow in 2011, an estimated 80 percent of the $2.5 billion spent on software will be imported.

Moreover, the IBM Global Entrepreneur initiative launching in Mexico provides startups with no-charge access to industry-specific technologies in a cloud computing environment and access to IBM's research community and sales, marketing and technical resources. This program has helped launch more than 500 new businesses worldwide, many in key growth markets, by providing technical expertise, coaching and mentoring in areas such as business model development and marketing, IBM said.

Privately held Mexican startups in business for less than three years and actively developing software aligned with IBM's Smarter Planet focus are eligible to join the program to receive access to IBM software and dedicated project managers to assist in product development, IBM said.

Also, as part of its efforts to help support the burgeoning Mexican technical community, IBM is helping develop curricula and provide no-cost access to software, hardware and industry experts at higher education institutions such as Tecnologico de Monterrey, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de M??«xico and Instituto Politecnico Nacional.

In addition, IBM officials said the company has seen substantial growth among Mexican IT professionals taking advantage of IBM developerWorks, the largest and most visited global site to gain technology skills. More than 26,000 unique Mexican IT professionals visited developerWorks each month in 2010, gaining access to software tools and code, IT standards and best practices, and skills training in IBM and open-source technologies such as Linux, Java, XML and cloud computing.

As IBM's Smarter Planet strategy has resonated with customers and its business partners, the company has seen its Mexican business partner community grow by 30 percent since the beginning of 2009. In the past two years, more than 200 new Mexican companies have become IBM business partners, adding to a group now totaling more than 800 Mexican independent software vendors, solution integrators and resellers today.

MEVE Soluciones, a Mexico-based provider of case management solutions for government and an IBM Business Partner, has received resources from IBM to test and validate its technology with the latest IBM software at the IBM Innovation Center in Dallas.

"With support from the IBM Innovation Center, we've been able to broaden our knowledge in IBM technology and grow our pipeline," said Sonia Mendoza, director of sales at MEVE Soluciones, in a statement. "The Mexico IBM Innovation Center will provide an immense resource to our business and the hundreds of other local IT companies through education, IT and marketing resources, and the ability to host customer engagements with IBM here in our own backyard."

In 2010, IBM Innovation Centers assisted more than 24,000 business partners with workshops, seminars and consultations to help build their skills and develop solutions on open standards and IBM technologies. The centers offer training and access to open standards-based and emerging technologies such as cloud computing, mobile computing, business analytics and industry-focused solutions.