The Americas Competitiveness Exchanges (ACE)
Is a regional initiative of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC). Ministers and High-Level Authorities of the countries of the Americas approved ACE as one of the main activities of the 2016-2018 RIAC’s Work Plan.
The ACE was originally created by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of State and the Organization of American States (OAS) as RIAC Technical Secretariat.
The objective of the Exchange is to showcase successful examples of entrepreneurship, innovation, strategic investments and public-private partnerships from a specific region/country that contribute to the economic development at the local, national and regional levels. The event brings 50 economic and political decision makers from across the Americas and beyond for a five-day tour of innovative hubs, leading firms and educational and research institutions, to explore local and regional economic development models, share experiences and knowledge, and build networks among the local and visiting stakeholders to enhance innovation and competitiveness of the Americas.
The host regions / countries have been:
Georgia, North and South Carolina, USA, April 2014
Mexico City, Aguascalientes and Guadalajara, Mexico, August 2014
Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, USA, April 2015
Province of Cordoba, Argentina, October 2015
Arizona and California, USA, April 2016
Province of Ontario, Canada, September 2016
Central Texas, USA, April 2017
ACE has produced important results, such as expanded talent pools, networks, and shared lessons on community-driven economic development among OAS member states. ACE has proven to be a successful instrument to facilitate cooperation and foster win-win development collaboration across the Western Hemisphere.
Some examples of the mutually beneficial partnerships developed, include: the collaboration between stakeholders in Conover, North Carolina and the State of Hidalgo, Mexico, supporting entrepreneurs in the textile industries of both countries; research centers and co-ops such as Organic Valley in Wisconsin and Escuela Superior Integral Lecheria (ESIL) of Villa María in Cordoba, Argentina, working on business and export development in the dairy industry; inspiring the enhancement of the New Belize Enterprise and Innovation Institute to include incubation programs; facilitating the cross-landing process of young entrepreneurs from UNITEC Honduras to interact and collaborate with the entrepreneurship ecosystems led by UC San Diego; giving momentum to the launch of a bilateral industrial internship program between Canada and Mexico through Mitacs, a Canadian not-for-profit research and training organization, and Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).
Such has been the success of ACE that it was recognized as part of the 2016 North American Competitiveness Work Plan, agreed to by Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in June 2016 at the North American Leaders Summit (NALS) held in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.
Also, due to the ACE success, the Government of Argentina adopted the ACE model internally to share best practices within its country regions and sectors.