Costa Rica’s Global Business Position.   Whether you’re starting your first business or launching a new outpost for a global brand, destination Costa Rica provides many compelling benefits. So what makes this country so different?

Primarily, it’s the ease with which foreigners may start a business while still protecting the rights of the local workforce. This includes welcoming Free Trade Zones which encourage foreign business investment by the likes of Amazon, IBM and Intel.

Over the next several Howler issues, we will discuss the steps and processes that successful businesses — global and entrepreneurial — have followed to take advantage of one of the world’s leading destinations.

Companies such as IBM have aggressively expanded
in Costa Rica to take advantage
of the sustainable energy drive.


Recognized by the world

At the intersection of sustainability and job growth lies over 300 multinational brands taking full advantage of Costa Rica’s top 5 global ranking for new jobs creation. According to the World Bank, Costa Rica has the lowest poverty rate within Latin America and the Carribbean. In large part, this is attributed to its highly respected education system. In fact, there are 62 major universities here and more than 200 technical high schools (similar to STEM schools in the U.S. and Europe). Adding to this attractiveness of the local population, the progressive government is pursuing an initiative to create a fully bilingual workforce. The people of Costa Rica provide the foundation to tech giants, industry leaders and progressive companies.

As more and more small and large brands alike are embracing eco-friendly production initiatives, Costa Rica is leading the pack in sustainability for companies based here. In fact, in 2018 the country was powered by clean energy alone for 300 days straight. Currently, 99 percent of its energy supply comes from renewable sources.

Companies such as IBM have aggressively expanded in Costa Rica to take advantage of the sustainable energy drive. As recently as February, IBM announced to the World Trade Organization its intention to invest $21 million into expanding its Global Security Services Operations Center. This division, operating in Costa Rica’s America Free Trade Zone, monitors security events for clients stretching into some 130 countries. IBM is just one of the high-tech businesses committed to using sustainable resources that has found a home in this bio-diverse country.

Impressive Support

One of the keys for companies bringing their investment dollars to the land of pura vida is the availability of support. The Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) is a private, non-profit, non-political organization. Declared of public interest in 1984, it is responsible for the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Costa Rica. Better yet, all of the agency’s services are free of charge.

Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Neustar, Inc., Equifax, POSSIBLE, and Akamai have worked with CINDE to source talent from local universities and CINDE-sponsored job fairs. These global powerhouses recognize the need for boots-on-the-ground intel and specialization in the CR hub of industry explosion.  In 2017, CINDE was awarded Best High-Tech Investment Promotion Agency in Latin America by the World Economic Forum.

According to Jorge Sequeira, Managing Director at CINDE, “Our country is considered as one of the top investment destinations in the world due to its value proposition. We talk about a proven track record, qualified workforce, strategic location, excellent business climate, robust utilities infrastructure and quality of life. The Costa Rican human talent is the key factor that allows the country to be attractive for all those companies looking for new markets in order to expand their operations. Human talent will continue being the main thrust force in order to install more investment projects.”

With recognized organizations like CINDE providing a link from big business to the local communities, it’s easy to see why Costa Rica ranks 29th in the world (just behind Spain and the U.S. according to the World Economic Forum) in Human Capital.

Destination Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s global business position makes it easy to see why major hotel chains such as Marriott, Westin, the W Hotel and others have found a welcoming home in this tropical paradise, it is exciting to see companies outside the tourism sector discovering the financial benefits as well. Perhaps the most compelling part of this surge is the continued increase in job opportunities for Costa Ricans. Destination Costa Rica is good for business and people.


World Economic Forum Global Human Index Score
for Costa Rica 2017