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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.
Priscilla

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.

Stock:

  -- 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.

Susan

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
B.R

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

how is business sell mobile shop and buy  from china sell it ecoudtor i see its a good business...i want how how much rent shop place for shop its a good how much make the shop ..

i am thinking about  about sell mobile phone from china to quito i think will be good cuz from china price it cheap and dhl fly to there about 7 days but how to sell ...which webside i can sell

hanzha :

how is business sell mobile shop and buy  from china sell it ecoudtor i see its a good business...i want how how much rent shop place for shop its a good how much make the shop ..

Seems dubious.

1.  There are many Chinese importers in Ecuador’s major cities, with storefronts in high-traffic areas attracting walk-in traffic.  You can bet that if they can import celus from China and make a profit, they’re doing it. 

They sell hundreds of products.  It’s highly questionable that your fledgling business could survive on profit margins that would be necessary to compete with them.

2.  The dogs of SENAE (EC customs) did not become infamous by letting non-Ecuadorians inexpensively import overseas goods into La República so the foreigners could grab business from locals to turn a profit.  Better check your import duties and run the whole plan in front of a qualified attorney or business specialist before you lose your shirt on this strategy.

3,  There are too many variables for anyone on this site to reliably predict the answer to your question about how much your shop would make.

Your spelling of Ecuador is the most creative one I have seen in years. ;)

cccmedia

cccmedia :
hanzha :

how is business sell mobile shop and buy  from china sell it ecoudtor i see its a good business...i want how how much rent shop place for shop its a good how much make the shop ..

Seems dubious.

1.  There are many Chinese importers in Ecuador’s major cities, with storefronts in high-traffic areas attracting walk-in traffic.  You can bet that if they can import celus from China and make a profit, they’re doing it. 

They sell hundreds of products.  It’s highly questionable that your fledgling business could survive on profit margins that would be necessary to compete with them.

2.  The dogs of SENAE (EC customs) did not become infamous by letting non-Ecuadorians inexpensively import overseas goods into La República so the foreigners could grab business from locals to turn a profit.  Better check your import duties and run the whole plan in front of a qualified attorney or business specialist before you lose your shirt on this strategy.

3,  There are too many variables for anyone on this site to reliably predict the answer to your question about how much your shop would make.

Your spelling of Ecuador is the most creative one I have seen in years. ;)

cccmedia

Absolutely correct, as if someone can just import anything they want of any quantity and sell it on the street. There are official distributors for name brands that are under warranty here and their rights as official distributors are protected by law.

thank u

hello Susan...

Pleasure to read your message..

Would like to know more about doing trading business in Ecuador.

Please contact me on ***

Regards,

Jaavs

Moderated by Priscilla 4 months ago
Reason : Do not post your personal contact details on a public forum for your own security

Hi there

I wnat to answer your questions by pointing out the ulgy truth of Ecuador. Although its a dollarizes system, and very attractive for the monetary exchange, here what is the most important issue that citizens lack of it TRUST. In all economies, trust is extremely important to make it dynamic. In other words, ince trust is out of the picture, economies take forever to develop, and that is what happens own here.

I purchased a business 6 years ago in the travel industry, not kwnowing anything about the business or ecuadorian business practices, i purchased it. The owner tole me she would teach me everything there is about the biz, but in 6 months that i had her enrolled in the social sceiruty program, she taught me squat.

The worse issue is that travelling to my country in order to get some clients to fly down here and profit from the services rendered, the old onwer (now employee) took advantage of my 2 week trip to submit her resignation letter. Without me being able to do nothing for the time being, she took advantage and stole all the client base she had sold me, took all clients and lead them to her new job oppening where she woulod take care of them, not to mention she took the freelance salesperson I had and the IT guy. I was left litterally with only the accountatn who luckily was loyal to me and did not leave me completely alone.

I have a business degree, speak 3 languages and had greaet success in Canada, but wanting to open a business here in Ecuador is what relly made me apprecite where I already had success. I do not wish what happened to me to anyone, but for others to know my story and be aware that employees here are lazy, you have to enrolle them into the social security (which is a scam because if you are behind payments, employees can sue you for thousands of dollares even in you dont have a dime in your account). I took a few small loans to keep up with payments when times were slow,and employees dont care at all in what state the company is, they only want to get paid and spend it all and likve paycheck to paycheck, sometimes even borrowing salary in advanced whicih a never gave out because it wasnt beneficial to the companies liquidity.

I truly hope that you start a business slow, and small, with little tie ups with money and with your own funds, that was you dont have to borrow any from banks (which are crooks here because its all a political interest anyways). Ecuador is a beaufitul country, it has hard working people (a vast minority) and is in a great position to generate jobs, but unfortunately political ties make things very difficult to strive unless you know someone in the government who can help you out in exchange of something of their interest.

Workers get lazy after their 3rd month, they just rely on you doing all the legwork so they get their pay, and thats it, they wont care if you have no money left to pay your rent or even to feed your kids, they will do anything in their way to get more money, even if they dont deserve it. Please investigate before doing anything, take your time and TRUST NOBODY otherwise Ill be the first one to say I TOLD YOU SO. If you wish to corroborate this info im happy to help out.


Leo

Dear Leo,

Thank you for sharing your compelling and cautionary story.

One of several takeaways is not to buy a business (anywhere) where you don't fully understand the business going in.

Also, a business owner needs to be protected legally from the possibility of a key employee stealing all the clients.

cccmedia

I recall answering this 18 months ago (and before I got to know more about our Priscilla :-) ).

I wanted to add, there is no way to learn everything you will need to know to handle the labor law aspect of running a business in Ecuador. I know folks here longer than I who still get caught in problems. It is not an intuitive system for those of us raised in the capitalist system and strongly favors the employee over the business owner. As for the application of those laws to non nationals who have labor disputes, I cannot say. But I am curious.

Susan

If there existed a phd award for being a hard core entrepreneur, I would apply for a half dozen, at least. Which might explain why I didn't answer in this thread, but did read with interest, and sometimes laughter. Dusters? cccmeadia, sometimes you crack me up!

Today I feel adventurous in mentioning there are apparently graveyards of Volkswagens accumulating, piling up in USA. (You can research yourself as to why.) It's possible there's an opportunity there. maybe shipping in as 'parts'. Of course I have no idea of the import complexity, and would not ever take on that mission. To be sure, one could have no local affiliation with Volkswagen, to make that work. Such execution would also likely require at least 2 to 5  million ante, to get in the game, but its a thought nevertheless.

Adding this link for better understanding:
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04- … iesel-cars

Im already investigating fruit juice bottling plants in India and China......For a country with such an incredible rich diversity of fruits, the selection of quality fruit juices is impoverished......Undoubtedly its better in the huge supermarkets in the big cities, but where Ive been traveling and spending most of my time, there just isnt much at all....Makes Panama look good by comparison..........So thats my 2cents worth......produce quality fruit juices and distribute them nationwide.........Can it be that the locals arent interested in Pineapple juice, orange juice, guava juice, grape juice (from Chile) and so much more? Anybody out there who has any experience in this field? I would be interested to hear from you.........

I'm not sure why there would be a big market in Colombia for overpriced bottled fruit juices sold in supermarkets, when on almost every corner you can buy fresh-squeezed juice from the carts of street vendors.

Mora, maracuyá, borojó, piña, carambola, guanábana, lulo, guayaba are just a few of the juices available whenever you want and at low prices.  Or just buy fruit which is sold everywhere, squeeze it yourself and keep it in the refrigerator - home juice machines sell well in Colombia, you can find them for sale anywhere electrodomésticos are sold.

Oops!  Mea culpa.  I mistakenly thought this was on the Colombia thread and not the Ecuador thread...but I'd still opt for juices from street vendors and/or a home exprimidor de jugo to get juices and mix them exactly as I want, economically.

The main company for 100% pure juice is D'hoy which produces absolutely delicious juices. Their orange juice is second to none IMO and a 2.5 liter jug costs $7.99 or about $12/gallon. Supermaxi and Megamaxi also squeeze their own orange juice but they are hit or miss and I stopped buying . On the streets a 250 ml bottle of orange juice or coconut juice costs $1, and it takes about 8 or 9 oranges to squeeze that amount.

So why do people buy overpriced bottled juices, well for the 2.5 liter 100% orange juice that I buy and lasts about two weeks, I would need about 80 or 90 oranges or about 15 kilograms in weight. Then there is of course the squeezing process and of course the trash aspect. For me, a person who values his time, that process is simply not happening it's not practical, and I would rather spend the $8 to conveniently have a cup of pure orange juice everyday for two weeks.

Lemons on the other hand is a different story (because of the obvious), and I use my juicer to make a pitcher of lemonade. By the way, lemons are ridiculously cheap now and selling for $0.62 a kilogram.

So if someone wants to start another company to compete with D'hoy, please do so. You have my full consumer support, and of course many other city residents.  :)

Well, interesting information.....but it would appear that besides being grossly overpriced, its very much under distributed becuz I didnt see it anywhere and believe me I was lookin......but as I mentioned before I did not have the opportunity to check out the huge Supers in Quito or Guayaquil......Apparently they only focus on the big city markets.......granted, its a lot easier....3 million people concentrated in a relatively small geographic area...........Im surprised Del Monte is not in the Ecuador juice game......

Quito's centro-norte residents what are you observing in your neighborhoods? The trend is businesses are popping up on residential streets. And the rent is not cheap for a garage, on a quiet side street on my block a 30 square meter space is renting for $500. It's primarily an almuerzo restaurant that also serves breakfast and beer(other drinks too, but this is the pull). My friend and I were calculating how many almuerzos they have to sell just to pay the rent. Some of these restaurants are offering a gourmet almuerzo, a choice of words my friend uses, but are basically the same dishes but presented a bit fancily.

If one is thinking of this idea, well good luck because many are doing this now. Other businesses are your usual mini-marts, peluquerias, and frankly there's no creativity at all, but locals, Venezuelans, and other immigrants give these types of businesses a try because they cater to a lot of people, but when they saturate the market, the net profit if any is small, or crumbs for small investments. Some of these small businesses are property owned, so they don't pay rent, which makes sense as it employs family and you make a little bit of cash. As for the municipality permitting this, it seems they are lenient and giving owners leeway to get everything in order.

Ok so I will start interviewing prospective employees (starting out with 1), and  I want to know other business owners experiences with the temporary contract. The prueba, or a period in which a prospective employee works for you but under a trial basis. It seems straightforward, as you pay the básico,and not obligated to pay the seguro.

What I want to know is, from personal experience is how long was the temporary contract? How did it work out? If you opted not to hire the person what was the experience?

I will have an attorney write the temporary contract, but like to be prepared and never take anything for granted, so I want to know personal experiences to be better educated.

And because I posted on this thread in 2016, I am not going into the food and beverage business, so keep that in mind when replying.

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