Your best business development ideas in Ecuador

Hi everyone,

As a foreign entrepreneur, launching a business in Ecuador is a fantastic project and an exciting challenge. Some ideas are likely to succeed. Some others are promising but may not work as well as intended.

In your opinion, what kind of business or industry is likely to succeed in Ecuador? What kind of industry or service currently unavailable or underdeveloped in the country would meet local needs?

On the other hand, what are the most common business types foreign entrepreneurs would be eager to launch in the country but with very little chance of success?

Thank you for your insights.

Best bet:  open a business selling items Gringos have a hard time finding in Ecuador .. and which locals would love too.

Stick that store in the Mariscal sector of Quito near Plaza Foch or at a Nards Barley-approved location in Cuenca.


  -- Cheeses you can’t find at MegaMaxi, including Muenster and better-quality Swiss cheeses.

  -- Flent’s ear stopples and other brands of ear plugs and noise solutions.

  -- Feather dusters.

  -- Secret under-clothing money compartments.

  -- Squared-off, wheelable, stackable carry-on bags of the same type and quality used by international flight crews.

  -- Super-soft towels and Egyptian cotton sheets.

  -- Living room recliners with full massage function.

  -- Wireless box that transfers video from laptop to full-size TV.

  -- Do research to find more products.

           ccc media in Quito

I think there is great potential in the food and beverage industry. This is an industry that is resilient in all economic conditions because people have to eat and drink. It’s also an industry with a lot of room to grow. Here in Quito for example a good Thai (or Indian, Jamaican, Turkish, Greek, etc) restaurant is needed, and in my opinion would be successful because Ecuadorean love eating out. And in centro-norte there is a middle class that will be willing to pay $8 a plate or so for good food and service in a nice looking establishment.

This is also an industry where expats are successful in, and some of the most successful restaurant/bars/cafes in the nightlife district of La Mariscal are expat owned and managed. It’s also not solely limited to those types of businesses, let’s take El Griego for example they sell candies, chocolates and bottled items (sauces for example) and other items that are not available in supermarkets and are doing quite well. Study the market, identify a niche, brand your business and with enough capital I think there is a good chance for success because people want greater variety.

I so have to disagree with this...

And I say that with 10 years of experience in Ecuador and 8+ of them running a business in Ecuador and working with the expats in the community who have tried to "run a business"

Priscilla, do you even live in Ecuador?  Or is your job simply to post these sorts of messages on the board?  Because what you claim is so far from the reality of the situation as to be tantamount to impractical and "malpractical".

Ecuador, first of, is a labor benefiting country.  You go into business and become a boss and you hire employees and you are pretty much stuck with paying them their full salaries even if they are pretty lousy.  In fact, once a worker has been with you more than 3 months, you are responsible for their entire year and severance pay.  And the pay is not negotiable, it is advocated by law.

If my readers would like to know more about Ecuador, the good, the bad and the really ugly, in other words, the TRUTH that you won't find in International Lying, uh Living... then please contact me. 

I don´t sell real estate or other services so have no reason to lie, prevaricate or sugar coat.  If you want to know the real deal, I am who you want to speak with.  Lets chat.


Hi Susan

Planning to   have a business in Ecuador
I see that you disagree or let's say that your opinion is different from what's mentioned
What do you suggest based on your experience in Ecuador  the fields of business that can be done .
Your opinion is highly appreciated

Susan, before I came to Ecuador I did months of research, both about personal issues like rentals and about business, primarily about creating city portal websites for Ecuador. I created WelcomeToEcuador first, followed by city portals for Cotacachi, Ibarra, Cuenca, Quito and Guayaquil. After arriving in Ecuador I rebranded everything under the "Today" banner, EcuadorToday, along with fifty other domains for various cities. I invested about four thousand hours designing the sites.

Before I moved to Ecuador I found a wonderful lady who lived outside of Otavalo. She helped me with accommodation and picking me up at the airport. She expressed a desire to work with me after she learned more about the business model. Shortly after I arrived she left eight people waiting an hour for her for a meeting so I knew she wouldn't work out. Over the course of the next several months I went through an astonishing six women, all of whom wanted to work with me, then all of them baled when they realized actual work was involved. They could have easily made a thousand dollars a month with very little effort and far more if they were willing to invest the time. None were.

At one point when I thought I finally had a good team assembled our first project was to develop a much needed Business Directory. My lead person was formerly with the Ecuadorian Yellow Pages, owned by a Colombian, but she had left when her boss sexually harassed her. No sooner had we started than all three people received death threats against them and their families. One person moved his family to the US because he said "Colombians will kill anyone for a hundred dollars". I lost all three of them because no job is worth losing your life over.

This is the reality of doing business in Ecuador. I will never return.

This past week I saw a boutique hotel in a residential area and it was quite impressive. I’m not sure if it’s successful but there was activity and parking out front that indicated as much. I think how they went about it was they renovated a three-story house and made it into the hotel. So I don’t think they spent outrageous money with construction.

I think they know what they’re doing and marketing the hotel to business clients, and Ecuadorean expats who live in other provinces and spend a couple/few days in Quito. I doubt a tourist would be interested in the area because as I mentioned it’s residential and far from tourist sites.

Every country has issues or obstacles and it’s a matter of how or if a potential investor would be able to overcome them. Anyone interested wouldn’t be making a new trail because it has already been established by successful expats.

Priscilla, I always enjoy your thinking questions. They are fresh and engaging. I loved the ideas that the first person wrote. There were some great ideas. As for the second comment--she didn't need to be rude and insulting in giving her opinion. In fact, she should pack up and go do business where ever the third person went. There are lazy and unsavory characters in any country, including the United States!

totally agree with you, the first thing to do is to figure out what the people in your area need and try to supply those needs. The way I am doing it is to be excepted in your neighborhood and create a word to mount contact. Today's telephone book is Facebook Ecuador is very big in Facebook it is where they bragged about their family, what also work well is free sample, it's a little like steeling which is part of the culture.

Members here have their experiences, and personally I believe everything stated on this thread . Yes there are ridicoulous rules, and as easy that sounded, it can be your ruin. So know what you are doing.

Yes, there is a sinister side. Follow this rule :don't threaten anyone's livelihood and you have no issues. It's as simple as that.

As for the "steeling" part, that hasn't been my experience, but I hope Paulzy3 will elaborate.

Hi good morning and I hope you are doing great, as per my knowledge food and beverage is the good business to start in Ecuador, if you are planning to invest in these business please let me know because I would to join.

Thank you

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