Woods Staton owns Golden arches, the largest McDonald’s operator in Latin America. The founding brick of this empire was laid by Staton in Buenos Aires 34 years ago, when he opened the brand’s first store in the country in the Belgrano neighborhood. Today it has 220 stores in Argentina and 2,200 in the region, with 40,000 employees in 20 countries.
Colombian born in Medellín, he appeared at the IDEA colloquium saying that that city has “entrepreneurship in its blood”. Although Staton is optimistic, when talking about the Argentine situation, he states that “The great enemy of the entrepreneur is inflation.”
In a panel led by Mario Pergolini, Staton remarked that “what Mercado Libre, Globant and Cuatro Cabezas have done is super important for countries like ours. They create jobs, pay taxes and give people hope. ”
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But he stressed that “the great enemy of the entrepreneur is inflation. The entrepreneur has a long-term vision and inflation corrodes you in the short term. It does not allow you to think beyond, one becomes a doorbell”.
Staton pointed out that to develop “the entrepreneur requires education. Argentina is the country with the best education in Latin America, that’s why there are so many young entrepreneurs. There is incredible intellectual capacity in the country. You have to invest a lot in education and promote entrepreneurship ”.
“We are a meritocracy”Staton said when defining the way of working in the company. And he said that the current CEO of Arcos Dorados in Argentina, Marcelo Rabach, “started working in the kitchen of one of the stores when he was 18 years old.”
Regarding the effect of the pandemic on the company, Staton said that “the app is saving our skin. We have multiplied the amount of business via delivery. We have had to reinvent ourselves internally ”.
The talk between Staton and Pergolini was the first part of the panel “The new cooperation”. In the second part they were presented four Argentine women entrepreneurs who managed to boost their companies in the middle of the pandemic.
Nur Malek Pascha is one of the creators of ShippingPack, a platform that connects retailers with logistics and courier providers. Nur is Argentine, but lives in New York. “The company was born four years ago. We knew that logistics was the great challenge for e-commerce.” They are already working in Chile and now they are aiming to expand to Mexico. “Despite being in the heart of Wall Street we never had financing or investors. It is possible to grow organically based on strategic alliances. We received a lot of push from partners who weren’t partners, but who helped us grow. We were profitable from the first year. We seek to be sustainable and have flexibility. ”
Pamela Scheurer is co-founder of Nubimetrics. Through big data, the firm helps SMEs to boost their sales in Mercado Libre by providing them with demand information and different types of analysis. “We are not part of Mercado Libre. What we did was take advantage of an opportunity in 2013 when the company made its data public so that the different developers could help strengthen the platform.” Based in Jujuy, Nubimetrics already has 4,000 clients in Latin America and the United States. “It took us seven years to be profitable. And we had to land in Buenos Aires to look for investors, in order to federalize opportunities. The knowledge economy is the tool to enhance the country’s productive matrix.”
Agustina Fainguersch is CEO of Wolox, a company that provides technological solutions for companies in digital innovation processes. “With the pandemic there was an acceleration in projects. The firms we had been working with understood that the plans they were planning to develop in three years had to be implemented immediately. ”
Delfina Irazusta is founder of RIL, a civil association that works with municipal governments of different political signs to improve management capacity and transform cities. “We connect with many officials who in different municipalities are doing their job very well, so that they achieve decisive improvements for the people. That is something that is already happening,” he said.