Options For Starting A Business In Ecuador

Entrepreneurs In Ecuador

Sept. 21, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Roberto Ribadeneira explains how he got his import-export business up and running.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Last week in Quito, attendees at our Live and Invest in Ecuador Conference were introduced to opportunities for living, retiring, and investing in this country...as well as top current options for starting a business here.

One of the best business opportunities in Ecuador is import-export...as successful import-export entrepreneur Roberto Ribadeneira explained...

"Our business," Robert began, "started with fresh-cut flowers, but today we export practically everything.

"Our business has grown big, but we didn't start that way. And the opportunity still exists in this country to make money from import-export in a small, low-key way.

"How could you make money exporting flowers from Ecuador, for example? By exporting from here and reselling. Country clubs, golf courses, and hotels always need flowers. Usually they order from flower shops. A dozen roses from a high-end flower shop costs up to US$100. We sell 100 roses, packed and shipped, for US$140.

"You could set up accounts directly with businesses in a particular area. Go in person and offer to ship quality flowers for less cost than the local florists are charging. All you need in each case is the business' address, and we can ship the flowers to them for you. These are sales opportunities that we'd never have access to on our own...and neither would these businesses ever find us on their own. You're acting as the connection point, providing us with direct access and the business with quality flowers at a competitive price. You could earn a good income this way.

"Flowers could be your start, as they were for us. Then, depending on how much time and effort you want to invest, you could expand your import-export business to include other products available at very low costs here in Ecuador. I'm speaking of products made by hand, including leather products—jackets, duffle bags, purses, etc. We can make the designs for you. We had a client from Texas who wanted to design a purse that could fit her gun in a way that made it easily accessible. Now she's started a business. We make these gun-friendly purse designs for her for around US$80. She sells them for US$350 apiece at gun shows.

"Another customer came to us three weeks ago and said he wanted something to carry an iPad. We designed a leather bag that fits an iPad. It even has real cow fur. The design options are limitless.

"We work with small communities. When you place an order, it's not just me making a profit but many others in poor communities. It's their handiwork and their talent that make this business possible. Send me a picture of what you want, and I can find someone to create it. In addition to the people I'm working with around the country earning an income, we help them with health care, better food, and better housing. Every time you buy a handmade product from Ecuador, you're helping a lot of people.

"Every town specializes in something. Cotacachi specializes in leather products, Otovalo is the place for textiles, and San Antonio de Barro is the place for wood.



F'ing Ecuador

Sept. 19, 2014, Quito, Ecuador: Expat Theresa Rall relocated to Quito, Ecuador, 14 years ago and loves everything about her new life.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The goings-on in Quito continue. Among those addressing the attendees at this week's Live and Invest in Ecuador Conference today was American expat Theresa Rall...

"I'm from Nebraska," Theresa began. "I first came to Ecuador 30 years ago as an undergraduate student. Fourteen years ago I came back to live here, and I've been here ever since.

"I'm in the golf business," Theresa continued. "I own pro shops here in Ecuador, and I'm the Titleist distributor.

"How can I help you understand all that Ecuador has to offer and why I've been so happy I've made my home here all these years?

"I've put together a presentation to that end titled:

"'The F-words of Ecuador'...

Starting with: Fun.

"When I first came to this country as a 19 year old, I spent seven months working as an intern. That was a lot of fun. There are all sorts of activities and outdoor things to do here in Ecuador. Ecuador is about as different from Nebraska as you can get. Everything I encountered and experienced way back then as a young girl was new and exciting.

"It's easy to enjoy all the outdoor experiences this country has to offer because the climate here can't be beat, even on our worst days. Some locals will say 'Que frio' when it's 50 degrees or 'Que calorzaso' when it's 78 degrees and sunny. All I can think is, 'Wow, you guys have no idea...'


Day One Of Live And Invest In Ecuador Conference

Taking The Bus And Other Impossible
Misadventures In Ecuador

Sept. 18, 2014, Quito, Ecuador: Kali Kucera shares her story of reinventing her life from Seattle, Washington, to Quito, Ecuador.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Kali Kucera is a full-time Quito expat who addressed the group assembled in that city this morning for this week's Live and Invest in Ecuador Conference, making a presentation that he titled:

"Taking The Bus And Other Impossible Misadventures."

"Welcome to Quito," Kali began, "my beloved city that adopted me.

"Welcome to the middle of the world, which on certain days can make you feel like you're on the edge of the planet.

"This is a wonderful city," Kali continued, "of about 27 cities put together. If this is your first time here and you're walking around in Mariscal and feeling overwhelmed, multiply that by 27 to begin to get a real sense of this energetic capital.

"You may be wondering why I chose to title my presentation the way I did. Don't worry, I'm not here to convince you to take the bus or to sell you bus tickets. I'm not even here to convince you to move to Ecuador. Taking the bus is a metaphor that I use for the process of adapting to being an expat.

"And that's what this experience is all about—adaptation. Taking this bus, as I've chosen to do, has been for me a delightful experience that has allowed me to reset my expectations and assumptions about life and living and redefine my understanding of the difference between assumption and reality. Taking this bus has been a catalyst for me to reconsider everything.


Why Retire In Cuenca?

5 Reasons Cuenca Remains A
Top Retire Overseas Choice

Sept. 17, 2014, Quito, Ecuador: Five reasons that make Cuenca, Ecuador, a top overseas retirement destination.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Cuenca, Ecuador.

You have heard so much about it. The experts recommend Cuenca, Ecuador, as a fabulous choice for living abroad. The country is mentioned time and again on all the short lists of places to ponder, with Cuenca being the customary crown jewel choice both for retirees and anybody at any age just hoping to escape to a fresh start.

It sounds so exciting, but is it right for you?

Here's your opportunity to hear about what Cuenca has to offer from somebody just like you, rather than another seasoned expert.

I still live in the United States, and, like you, I have been doing research trying to decide if I want to move abroad...and, assuming I do, to where?

Ecuador is currently the top contender on my list, so last month I traveled to Cuenca with one of my daughters and her husband for an initial reconnaissance expedition. My husband and other adult children did not join us; we three were the family's boots-on-the-ground scouts. If we liked what we saw, plans would move forward. If not, it would be back to the drawing board. And the verdict?

We loved it!

So what is so great about Ecuador, Cuenca in particular?


Granada, Nicaragua, Is One Of The World’s Top Travel And...

Playing Hooky In Granada—This Place Gets Under Your Skin

Sept. 16, 2014, Granada, Nicaragua: Granada, Nicaragua, is returning as a top travel, investment and retirement choice.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

I felt like a schoolgirl playing hooky. We awoke early Friday morning, dressed, ate, and then, instead of heading to the office, we took off for the airport to catch a flight to Managua. Just Lief and me. No kids. No checked luggage. Not even our laptops. We had planned this quick escape weekend to Nicaragua spur of the moment. We needed to do some scouting in advance of our Live and Invest in Nicaragua Conference in November and rationalized that into a romantic weekend for two in one of our favorite countries, a place where we spent a lot of time early on in our marriage but hadn't returned together in years.

Almost immediately upon arrival, it all came back, all the reasons I like this country as much as I do. Nicaragua is naturally and dramatically beautiful, but lots of places are beautiful. What sets Nicaragua apart is its heart. You get the feeling, spending time here, that this country is always trying really hard to pick itself up and carry on...to make things better.

Nicaragua and its people have struggled in ridiculous ways over the past 100-plus years. Pre-1900 Nicaragua was on a track to prosperity. Then a series of events took place that, when you study them now, in hindsight, defy understanding or explanation, leave you shaking your head in despair.

That's the effect Nicaragua's story over the past century has on me anyway.

Not the Nicaraguans, though. Their collective struggles haven't left them bitter or despairing but resilient and resourceful. They are also, I was reminded all weekend, surprisingly when you think about all that they have lived through, big-hearted, friendly, and quick with a smile. Gatekeepers and waitresses, taxi drivers and street vendors, businessmen and bankers...they are all cheerful and pleasant with a sense of humor that helps them, I guess, to keep things in perspective. When we passed one of the many posters around Managua showing President Daniel Ortega promising great things in 2014, I asked our Nicaraguan driver what these billboards were all about. What's going on in 2014, in particular, I wondered.

"Nada," he replied with a chuckle. "It's just propaganda."

Speaking more practically, what's the scene in Nicaragua today?


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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.


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