New Survey Results Will Help Colombia’s Businesses Go Digital

Abdulwahab Alkebsi, CIPE’s Managing Director for Programs, during the opening remarks of the event “Digital Transformation: Advancing Competitiveness of Local SMEs in Colombia,” in Bogota, Colombia.

Esta publicación está disponible en español.

Colombian small- and medium-sized businesses find it challenging to digitalize their operations but see significant opportunities in doing so, according to new survey data revealed at a recent CIPE event in Bogota attended by more than 250 leaders from the private sector, government, and academia. The event was called “Digital Transformation: Advancing Competitiveness of Local SMEs in Colombia” and was hosted by CIPE’s Colombia office and its Center for Digital Economy and Governance (CDEG).

The survey was conducted in partnership with iNNpulsa, the national government agency for entrepreneurship and innovation, and developed by the National Consulting Center. More than 4,000 entrepreneurs around the country were interviewed to understand how they are adopting the technological tools in their organizations.

After the event, more than 120 entrepreneurs participated in five workshops on financing, strategic planning, digital transformation, marketing, and AI for business, held at the Agora Bogota Convention Center.

“At CIPE, we believe that democracy is good for business and vice versa. We want to see inclusive markets in Colombia that respond to the needs of local companies,” said Abdulwahab Alkebsi, CIPE’s Managing Director for Programs, during the opening remarks of the event.

Some of the main findings from the new survey are:

  • 28 percent of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have adopted electronic invoicing, but there are significant differences depending on the size of the company. Among medium-sized enterprises implementation reaches 54 percent, a figure that falls to 30 percent for small enterprises and to 24 percent for micro-enterprises.
  • 52 percent of SMEs include an employee responsible for technological matters, an increase of 14 percentage points since 2018.
  • 63 percent of medium-sized enterprises in Colombia are at the most advanced levels of digital transformation, while for micro-enterprises the total is 42 percent.
  • 18 percent of businesses owned by individuals from the LGBTIQ+ community are at the advanced level, meaning they are engaged with artificial intelligence, surpassing businesses owned by men (16 percent) and women (13 percent).
  • Only 12 percent of companies located in areas most affected by the conflict reach the most advanced level of technology adoption compared to 16 percent of companies in other territories.
Louisa Tomar, Director of the Center for Digital Economy and Governance at the International Center for Private Enterprise (CIPE), participates in a panel with representatives from the Colombian government, private sector, and academia.

One of the findings of the study is the ongoing need to train micro and small businesses in the use of technologies for decision-making, such as analytics, big data, the Internet of Things, AI for process automation, and systems for monitoring production processes. To address this need, CIPE announced an online course, in partnership with the distinguished Latin American educational platform Platzi, on the digital economy.

Abdulwahab Alkebsi, CIPE’s Managing Director for Programs, and Angela Maria Velez, Director of CIPE’s Colombia Office, along with representatives from the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá and other private sector organizations.

The digital economy course will be available for 200 Colombian entrepreneurs interested in improving their knowledge of technological tools for their businesses. For CIPE CDEG Director Louisa Tomar, leveraging CIPE’s training course Harnessing the Power of the Digital Economy, in partnership with Platzi, demonstrates how CIPE adapts a global curriculum to the specific needs of small and medium enterprises in Colombia.

Once this course is completed, iNNpulsa will upload the course to its platform, and SMEs throughout Colombia will have the opportunity to access these exclusive lessons and guidance on the digital economy.

To see a Spanish-language version of the survey results, click here. CIPE will soon publish a version in English.


Published Date: May 31, 2024