Yesterday, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker toured Monterrey’s Research and Technology Park (Parque de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica; PIIT in Spanish), a project that seeks to build competitiveness in the state of Nuevo Leon and northern Mexico by leading the transformation into an innovation and knowledge-based economy.
PIIT is based on a model that aligns the government, universities, and the private sector to achieve economic growth through innovation. To that end, the PIIT serves both as a R&D Center and incubator, focusing on 10 industry clusters considered strategic by the state of Nuevo Leon – including IT and software, medical services, biotechnology, automotive and auto parts and advanced manufacturing among others.
Accompanied by Secretary of Economic Development Rolando Zubiran and Institute for Innovation and Technology CEO Jaime Parada, Secretary Pritzker praised PIIT and its staff for encouraging public and private partnerships and spurring innovation in Mexico.
Innovation is a major pillar of the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda,” and Secretary Pritzker saw how Monterrey utilizes R&D dollars and cutting-edge sites such as PIIT to create dynamic clusters that accelerate economic growth and international competitiveness.
In fact, PIIT also includes university and public research centers, private research centers and incubators. Specific entities at PIIT include the University of Texas’ Global Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as PepsiCo, General Electric and Motorola – each maintaining a facility in collaboration with a Mexican partner.
The innovation park covers 70 acres and provides the necessary infrastructure to 30 research centers devoted to R&D, as well as the development of technology-based companies. The park initially began as a program called Monterrey International City of Knowledge, started in 2003 by Nuevo Leon Governor Jose Natividad Gonzalez Parás, aimed and coordinating the public and private sectors to help reposition the city.
Monterrey is the third-largest city in Mexico, and despite it claiming only four percent of Mexico’s population, the Nuevo Leon economy generates more than eight percent of the country’s total GDP. It is ranked by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as the most productive state in Mexico and has a business climate that is increasingly open to U.S. trade and investment. More than 2,600 international companies operate in Nuevo Leon, including 1,600 from the United States.
Monterrey’s Research and Technology Park is a concrete example of how public-private partnerships are key to advancing the innovation process, and the Department of Commerce hopes to implement similar programs such as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) to drive U.S. competitiveness, wage and job growth, and long term economic growth.