What makes Uruguay the perfect location for your next IT challenge?

Federico Sendra
SpaceDev.io
Published in
3 min readNov 28, 2019

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With 3.44 cows per inhabitant, one could easily disregard Uruguay as one of the IT hubs of the world. Traditionally focused on primary economic activities such as cattle breeding and agriculture, it may come as a surprise for some, but Uruguay is nowadays the leading software exporter per capita in Latin America and the third in the world.

Uruguay’s success in the IT industry is the result of a long process combining government support, tax exemptions, good quality of life and a high-quality talent pool.

So what actually makes Uruguay the perfect location for your next big idea?

1. Good Infrastructure

Uruguay boasts the best internet connection of Latin America, according to the Information Technology and Communication’s development index, as well as an outstanding internet penetration.

Thanks to a submarine cable connecting the country to the US, 90% of the population has access to fiber optics which guarantees fast download speeds across the country.

At schools, 100% of the students have access to their own notebook and internet connection, thanks to a government plan called “Plan Ceibal”. Plan Ceibal covers 100% of school children and ensures that every kid has access to the internet. The project enhances not only the children’s connection to the world but also the entire family’s internet access.

2. Talent Pool

High human resource quality has been key in Uruguay’s development of its IT industry. With 98.5% literacy rate and 99% school enrolment, the industry benefits from a nearly unlimited pool of talent.

According to the Information Technology and Communications (ICT) development index, Uruguay is the most developed country in Latin America.

With public education being free and compulsory, the country has achieved a stunning 99% school attendance in children and an 85% attendance of teens, with all of the 300.000 school children having access to their own computer and internet connection thanks to the Plan Ceibal.

Free and mandatory English classes during the entire 12 years of school complete the education package, giving the students the possibility to connect and communicate globally without barriers.

3. Stability

The most democratic country in Latin America, Uruguay has been, for long, a country with legal and social stability.

Respect for economic freedom and solid, trustworthy institutions ensure a stable framework across the country. Making it attractive for both local and foreign investors considering business ventures in South America.

Photo by Hernán Suárez

4. Government Support

Today, more than 700 IT companies call Uruguay home, including our own SpaceDev. The government has put in motion a set of tax benefits and government subsidies for IT firms. The most significant one being a 100% exemption of taxes for IT firms collecting payments from exports of software and related services.

Economic free zones are another one of the tools implemented by the government to benefit the industry. Companies located at Free Zones are exempt from all taxes, provided that at least 75% of their staff is comprised of Uruguayan residents.

Last but not least, public spending on tech has been continuously increasing in the last years, with the government seeing it as a key point in the development of the country.

5. Good Quality of Life

Uruguay has been identified as the best place to live in Latin America by the Legatum Prosperity Index. The country takes pride in a relaxed culture, access to free education, affordable public health care, and good income distribution.

With a traditionally calm lifestyle, safe surroundings and no pollution it’s a promising location to thrive in. Its 400 miles of coastline provide an easy (and gorgeous) escape from city life

Are you convinced yet? Besides the obvious growth of the industry in Uruguay, this IT Goliath still has a long way to go and we’re excited to see what the future holds for the country!

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Federico Sendra
SpaceDev.io

CEO & Co-founder at SpaceDev | Blockchain Expert | Web3 Enthusiast | Software Development and Consultancy | IT Staff Augmentation Specialist