Country Profile: Colombia

Colombia turns to the cosmetics industry to help diversify the economy

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

César Peñaloza, general manager Programa de Transformación Productiva
César Peñaloza, general manager Programa de Transformación Productiva

Related tags Cosmetics industry Personal care Cosmetics

Too much focus on energy and commodities has left the Colombian economy vulnerable to global economic cycles. But with a renewed emphasis on diversification, the country’s cosmetics and personal care sector is in the spotlight.

Programa de Transformación Productiva​ (PTP) is the government body charged with re-energizing the country’s cosmetics industry, together with 15 other sectors that are being supported with tax breaks, regulatory expertise and assistance to help expand businesses.

“A part of the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, it’s an alliance with the private sector and when it comes to cosmetics, we find out what are the problems that the country’s businesses need to resolve,”​ said César Peñaloza, general manager Programa de Transformación Productiva.

“Once we have established that problem, we then help refer them to the specific area within the government that can help them and take the next step to building their business.”

Assisting with regulation, marketing and investment

Regulation is one area that has proved a stumbling block for many Colombian cosmetic and personal care companies, particularly those wanting to expand their business scope beyond the country, both within the Latin American region and also into North America and Europe.

“We look towards changing and modifying regulations that hamper the industry or cause them unnecessary problems. We work with whatever ministry the regulation might concern to adapt or amend the regulation accordingly to fit the needs of the industry,” ​Peñaloza explained.

On top of regulation the other principle goals for the PTP are to help companies with infrastructure issues, ensuring the companies are run in a sustainable manner and also providing the financial resources necessary to expand, Peñaloza went on to explain.

Big multinationals to small domestic players

The companies the body works with including anything from big multinationals to small domestic players, and include both finished goods players as well as providers of raw materials and ingredients, as well as contract manufacturers.

Currently production for the cosmetic and personal care industry is still spread throughout the country, with the principle manufacturing hubs being the Bogota, Antioquia and Valle del Cauca regions, which respectively hold 22%, 18% and 18% of the total manufacturing.

But the focus for the future of the country’s cosmetics industry is simple.

“In the productivity program we have a business plan for each segment. For the cosmetics sector the goal is that by 2032 we have to be recognized as a producer and exporter of cosmetics made from natural ingredients,”​ said Peñaloza.

“Most of our work is based on this specific premise, to promote the manufacturers of natural ingredients and manufactured products. And in particular we are working very hard with suppliers of natural ingredient to grow those businesses, in answer to what the global industry is looking for.”

Peñaloza also stressed that the body is working with packaging companies in an effort to support the entire supply chain and ensure that the needs of expanding ingredients and finished goods companies can be made.

In the second part of this interview, which will be published tomorrow, Peñaloza explains how the PTP has given specific Colombian cosmetics the 'hot house' treatment in an effort to grow their businesses, both domestically and internationally.

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