Business in Nicaragua, Trade, Economy
Business in Nicaragua may not yet be quite at the same standard as it is in other countries, but the economy is growing at a steady rate. Most major business is conducted in the bigger cities, but that does not mean to say you cannot set up a business in the smaller towns. Many of the people are unemployed or earn low wages and thus the establishment of new businesses – especially ones that plan to make use of personnel – is encouraged. Many have seen the opportunities for eco-travel that the country present and have chosen to set up businesses relating to this. Internet-based businesses that rely on internet-traffic and orders from other parts of the world are also good, as the country can be somewhat poor resulting in low local sales.
If you plan to establish a business in Nicaragua and you are not a local, the first thing you would have to do is make sure that you can get a resident visa. Though visa laws in the country – especially for US citizens – are somewhat lax, you stand the chance of being deported if it is deemed that you are engaging in some form of business without a resident visa – even if you have made the effort to obtain a business visa. Laws such as these are designed to protect the locals and should not be thought of as extreme. It would also be a good idea to read up on government requirements for the running of a business so that you know what is expected of you. It is also a good idea to have a few inoculations against typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A if you plan to spend a vast amount of time in the country.
Most business in Nicaragua is done on cell phones. While there is a land-based telecommunications network in the country, telephone charges are considered to be expensive, which makes them less accessible to the public. Business attire is generally informal, unless speaking to government officials, and business lunches can be quite lengthy. Many businesses executives are unavailable at lunch time though businesses usually remain open. Most business people close their businesses for public holidays and over the Christmas period.
If you plan to rent or buy premises, these are usually quite cheap and easily accessible, which decreases starting costs significantly. You can also transport goods locally on the road network which, although existing in different states of repair, is quite extensive and will enable you to cover most parts of the country.
Most personal goods brought into the country are not taxed so if you plan to bring things such as your personal computer with you into the country, it is easy to do so. However bulk quantities of goods are seen as merchandise and are taxed accordingly. It is relatively easy to establish yourself in business in Nicaragua and costs tend to be low. You need to make sure that you go through all the right channels to avoid costly and unnecessary penalties. Maintaining a good relationship with government officials is usually not a bad idea. Nicaragua could well be the business base you’ve been looking for.