Starting a business in Argentina
EDITORS NOTE: Here is another post from our new friend Daniel K in Buenos Aires, the owner of Anuva Vinos. Having just started a business in Argentina, Daniel knows what he is talking about. This is the first post by Daniel on the subject of starting your own business in Argentina, more to come!
I believe that starting a business in Argentina, or any country really, begins when a great idea meets the inspiration to execute the legwork involved in taking the idea from concept to reality. After doing tremendous amounts of research, planning and strategizing, the business (if the initial idea was good enough) simply requires DOING the work involved. Much easier said than done.
But what would the difference be in starting a business in Argentina vs. starting a business in the U.S. or some other country?
1.Knowing the culture and language: which then effects your…
3.Sales, Marketing, Operations, Management, Accounting, Finance, Legal.
Going in order, knowing the culture and language of the place where you want to do business is absolutely crucial. This part of starting a business feeds into the rest of the aspects I have outlined above as well, and may even be the inspiration for your idea. If you really understand the culture of where you reside—for example Argentina—and can make accurate comparisons to other cultures of perhaps where you come from, you can see the opportunities in the market.
Argentina, for example, tends to be a less organized, more laid back, “traditional” culture, where Spanish is by far the predominant language. If you expect things to run the way they do in your home country, forget it. You will drown. You must be able to adapt to their way of doing things because, as previously referenced, “Es así” (that’s the way it is). So if you go into the DGEP or INV or AFIP (various governing bodies—secondary school, viticulture, and taxes, respectively) and expect that they will know how to get the appropriate forms in order for a student exchange, wine analysis or registration of a monotributista (like a sole-proprietor) be patient, because you will have to go to several different floors, offices, stand in different lines, etc. in order to get your questions answered. Also, in this instance, the importance of knowing the language on a fluent level cannot be underestimated, as government officials tend to not know English. If you have access to a large amount of capital, however, you may pay bilingual lawyers and accountants to do these tramites (paperwork) for you. But they will certainly charge you for it.
The Argentine government is also only barely arriving to the digital age. In fact, all of the government offices that I have been to still require in-person signatures and sellos (stamps or seals). Only recently have online forms and downloads become available. Expect to have to go in person, expect to have it take twice as long as you think it will, and expect to have to go back at least once because the person who attended you actually gave you the wrong information. Not out of malice, but simply a very narrow view of what they do. I find it to be tremendously similar to any other bureaucracy.
Remember also that many operations require a DNI (Documento Nacional de Identificación) which can be obtained in several ways. The easiest is to marry an Argentine, although many would argue to the contrary about the relative “ease” of this method. The Visa por Rentista can also be obtained fairly easily, but does require a lot of paperwork and patience. The basic requirement for it is proof of solvency. Many of the other forms of obtaining a long-term visa, most of which include the right to obtain a DNI, can be found at the following link, which of course, is only in Spanish—clear evidence of the need to understand the culture and speak the language. Argentina Ministry of Interior - Immigration Information