AUSTIN, Texas Mexico is building a network of technology incubators, including branches in the U.S. and Canada, said Alejandro Hernandez, undersecretary for small and medium businesses at the Ministry of the Economy.
Speaking at the World Congress on Information Technology here Tuesday (May 2), Hernandez said Mexico has suffered "a loss of competitiveness" in recent years as other nations have climbed the ladder of technology. Mexico attracts foreign companies by the score to build maquiladora, factories, but he said, "Mexico wants to avoid being ust a center for low value-add production. We want to build an innovation economy and promote entrepreneurship."
To achieve that goal, the Mexican government has set up a network of 220 technology incubators at universities and research centers throughout Mexico. The network includes an incubator in Silicon Valley, headed up by Jorge Zavala, and another here related to the Texas capital city’s IC2 (Innovation Capital and Creativity) incubator. A third incubator is planned for Montreal.
The goal is to put Mexico’s brainpower to work on software, wireless networks, and other growth opportunities. Each year, Mexico, with a population of about 100 million, graduates about 45,000 engineers, with about 25,000 of them receiving degrees in computer science and related information technologies, he said.
However, the country suffers from underemployment for many of those graduates. John Cook, the mayor of El Paso, Texas, said El Paso and its sister city of Ciudad Juarez alone have about 67,000 engineers and technicians who are seriously underemployed, out of a total combined population of about 1.8 million for the neighboring cities.
El Paso, the home of the U.S. Army's Fort Bliss, is attracting several military electronics research centers to work on battlefield information systems, he said. During the recent military base reorganization, Fort Bliss came out a winner, with additional troops scheduled to move there, as well as a corresponding network of defense-related IT projects.