While not in the original plans when visiting Ecuador, a $2.00 bus trip from Quito transported us to the cloud forest town of MIndo. Mindo can best be described as small “beach-like” town, in the middle of the beautiful cloud-forest of the Andean foothills, typically inhabited by vacationers and “hippies”. Mindo is best known as Bird Watching Central for South America. Mindo is ideal for the person looking for a very laid back atmosphere or for someone looking for opportunity.
As is the case with most of Ecuador, opportunity is abound. Property is cheap, the community is friendly, food is cheap & fresh and all sorts of basic services are not reliable. Great for an enterprising person.
In Mindo, I was able to sit down and speak to a business owner getting the rundown on opening a business in Ecuador. One of the great features of a underdeveloped country or one that has had years of political strife, is the very inefficient government machinery. A trait which can play in your favour.
Here is the process, as described to me, of how a local business owner opened a business.
In Ecuador, an enterprise cannot be issued a business license UNLESS they have been in operation for at least 3 months. You are reading this correctly.
A [food] business requires a Fire Inspection permit, but cannot be issued one until receiving a Business license, but the business must be in business for at least 3 months before qualifying for a business license. By the way that 3 months is very much just a suggestion.
In this case, the business needs a food inspection permit as well. However, a [food] business cannot receive a food permit until they are acquire a Fire Inspection permit which cannot be obtained without a business license, which cannot be had until the business has been in operation for at least 3 months.
Best of all…..if this wasn’t all ready great, is the fact you can prolong this process into infinity by simply going to anyone of the above mentioned departments, make them aware of your intentions to operate a business. Said department will provide you with a document acknowledging your visit. Should your business be visited by an official seeking the necessary documentation for a business, simply provide them proof you are involved in the “process” and the necessary departments have been visited.
If government must exist, let it be an inefficient one.
a glass of scotch