Ecuador Welcome Forum - Starting a Business

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shadowmack
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2/23/2012 01:39    
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Hello,

Is there anyone with experience with starting a business and Ecuador and then using that to obtain a visa?

I am a raw foodist and would like to open a health retreat in which people would travel to spend a period of time with me at my center o experience and learn about the raw food lifestyle first hand. Health tourism.

I am trying to determine which visa is the most likely one to be attainable. I do not have $25,000 to tie up.

I would really appreciate it if anyone can share their experience and pass on any useful advice.

Thank you,
Shada

DUNMOVN
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2/23/2012 08:02    
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You don't have to prove income or deposit money on a tourist visa, it's good for 90 days and can be renewed. Contact a woman named Dana on this site, username is Silverwater. She is a single mother and helps people with their visas.

mickisue
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2/23/2012 09:46    
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Tourist visas are restricted in what you are permitted to do while in the country.

The piece of advice that was good above was the part about contacting Dana.

I do have to ask, though. If you don't have the money for the required deposit, do you have the money to buy the land?

In the grand scheme of things, $25K isn't much. You'd need at least that much in order to buy the land and buildings, because mortgage money, not just in Ecuador, but in most third world countries, is so rare as to be non-existent, unless you are buying into a real estate project for gringos. Then, of course, you deal with the inflated prices.

OceanHideaway
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2/23/2012 11:53    
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For a business to be useful in obtaining a VISA you must register it as a compania (the equivalent of a USA corporation) and for that purpose among other numerous avtivities you must prove sufficient assets including financial liquidity to run your compania. Proof of liquidity is made by placing funds into a bank account that is "off limits" for the pendency of your incorporation period.

In addition as an owner -- you are required to pay monthly taxes and file monthly accountings prepared by a registered accountant -- whether you have made a profit or a loss. And you must have on your staff at least 80% Ecuadorian nationals.

With limited funding your alternative might be to locate an existing Ecuadorian compania and see if they are open to hiring you as a -- if you can prove that you have certain special qualifications or training in your field that sets you apart from an Ecuadorian national who might otherwise qualify for the position -- and see if they would sponsor you for a VISA; OR apply for the 6 month Business visa and only work in Ecuador for 6 months out of every 18.

As mentioned, Dana (Silverwater) would be better able to advise you on some of this.

Good luck!

Susan
TheOceanHideaway.com

pilotguy
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2/23/2012 15:13    
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You also have to pay into social security for at least one person. segurido sociale
I wish that I would have never done that visa. pay social security and accountant and a lot of forms continuosly. Business is difficult here at best. tread carefully.
good luck, joe

crowdpub
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2/23/2012 20:42    
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Having a company in Ecuador is an onerous process and not very business friendly. Employees have a lot of power and can really cause you a lot of headaches which can include having you blocked from leaving the country in a worse case scenario or being placed in custody. Employees are paid a percentage for turning employees into the government for noncompliance of regulations. The government needs to keep the income coming in for an increasing government and military size and are more aggressive then they were in the past with social security and taxes ect.

crowdpub
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2/23/2012 20:43    
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As to contacting Dana - I have made several attempts without any response.

Relocation2
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2/26/2012 08:04    
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Yes my family and I moved here three years ago and we own 3
successful businesses. Our Firm has also helped over 20 people
Form there businesses . I have a free Report and Info
president@bcsinvestmentfirm.com Charles Barrett

achiku
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2/26/2012 09:47    
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The Ecuadorian Government frowns heavily on the forming of a 'non-working' business for the purposes of getting a visa to live here. First off, it costs at the very least $500 and closer to $1,000 to form a business (same as incorporating) in which you would 'hire yourself'...file monthly tax papers...pay social security for yourself, work with 'retention forms'.....and it's quite alot of work each month and money. But when the Rentas (Ecua. IRS) see you filing Zeros every month...they will 'investigate' and will close the business down, maybe even with a fine.

I just made this post about an hour ago on another forum, and I thought it might be appreciated here...

Regarding someone who had 'overstayed' his Business Visa and got into trouble:

My question is, did he have an actual 'working' business--like a bakery, or a restaurant, or a car parts place, hiring employees and doing monthly bookkeeping and paying IVA tax and payroll taxes, benefits AND social security? In that case, if he had a valid business visa, and was doing all the legalities for his working business...having this visa for only one year doesn't make sense either. Or did he fall prey to some people who are offering VISAS in the form of 'starting a business on paper' which is extremely precarious, and alot of monthly work and cost as well.

Right before 9/11 we opened a 'business'---we filed articles of incorporation to form a legal tour company so we could take guests at our hotel around on tours. Well, business was slow at that time and we were not able to get it off the ground. Every month, my husband filed Zeros because we had not been making any money from this business. So after a few years, the government and tax people notified us that the business 'no longer existed' and it was closed for lack of use. And that was back then before gringos were using 'businesses' to get visas. If he had a 'business' set up, but which was not really a real working business...that may be a reason. I do not know all the details.

Relocation2
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2/26/2012 10:32    
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It is my understanding the write is right. You shoulld not form a company unless you have plans to do business. yes you have to pay minimum wage to your manager $280 and pay SRI . This social security if your the Manager qualifies you for free medical dental benefits. if your company is planning to file papers for a work visa the company must put a deposit of $12,500 this is refundable once the work visa is completed.

Conrazon
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2/26/2012 17:35    
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Please note that min. wage here is not $280,,,,but $294. Buy the time all benifits are factored in the wage is right at $500 a month. Also all company monthly reports are filed by a CPA. It is heavy load just to get a visa.

leothelion
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2/26/2012 19:37    
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My name is Leo, I am planing a move to Ecuador and would like help in starting a business. I will be going to Ecuador sometime in September to spend four months there to see how things are done there. I feel four months can give me a good idea of the business that I can invest in and the permits needed to run a business. If you can help me with the above mentioned, it would be greatly appritiated.

DUNMOVN
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2/26/2012 20:52    
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If you don't speak Spanish, don't waste your money trying to start a business in Ecuador.

booby
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2/26/2012 22:05    
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Probably the best advice Luckydawg has ever given.

achiku
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2/27/2012 10:49    
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Conrazon is right, at least $500.....there are easier ways to get a visa---student, missionary, pension visa, marry an Ecuadorian, without having to put your money in escrow here. If you really wish to start a business that may cater to expats or Ecuadorians, yes, speak spanish and FIRST get a visa to live here...then get used to life here, then start a business. If you think you can just come on in like gangbusters and everything just falls into place....sorry to disappoint. Come here first, then proceed in steps. There is no Magic Business Visa that will allow any of you people to stay here without pain and hassle and probably loss. ...just my opinion. there is a heck of alot of misinformation out there. I wonder what International Living would say about this?

Francisco123
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2/27/2012 12:18    
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"I wonder what International Living would say about this?"

They'd lie, of course.

mickisue
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2/28/2012 11:17    
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This thread has been of great help to me!

I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm an Herbalife distributor, and would love to open a nutrition club for both Ecuadorians and gringos, when we get there.

The ups and downs of businesses in the US I understand, along with licensing, etc, when you are feeding people. In Ecuador? Not so much.

Thanks to all who have lent their on the ground knowledge so far!

podd4me
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2/28/2012 12:09    
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YOu are welcome> Let me know if I can be of additional help.

Conrazon
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2/28/2012 17:05    
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Mickisue,,,,I have a few friends selling Herbalife here in Ecuador. If you decide to make a go at it here please keep in mind you can get a personal RUC thru the SRI (IRS) and do business. This is a lot easier,,,you can file your own monthly reports and is how most of the country operates....Best of Luck

mickisue
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2/29/2012 10:02    
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Thank you!

I've been "making a go" of it, for ten years now, and the nutrition clubs are the best idea the rest of us have ever borrowed from the Latinos.

Now I just need to put this thread into a file, LOL.

Coffeecup
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3/2/2012 00:23    
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Buy land in the municipality of Loja for around 10k or less and get the municipality to revalue it to over $25k. Will pay taxes on that amount. Then you can apply for residency based on the real estate investment VISA. Yes it's quite legitimate, this is Ecuador, not the US or Canada.

Coffeecup
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3/2/2012 00:24    
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.

Coffeecup
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3/2/2012 00:26    
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achiku,
to be clear and brief regarding revaluing property, it is a happening fact, not a pipe dream.

achiku
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3/2/2012 07:57    
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I disagree with coffeecup. No municipio here is going to more than double the value of a piece of land "to your liking." And the comment, "dont be foolish" about the country wanting and speaking English? Wow! What can I say. there is no way that this country is "going English" to satisfy the wealthy gringos coming here for a cheap life. Has anybody here spoken to the locals? I live here for many years and the people that I DO speak with on a daily basis are the locals. What better way to get to know what a country 'thinks' than to speak with the actual natives! Next thing you know, the gringos are going to insist on USA law here! Things like this only, only breed more animosity. So I'll say...let divine destiny take hold.

Perhaps you are not in tune with the animosity that is starting to foment here, on all levels. so...take it easy, take it nice, do it slow, investigate well and for God's sake, learn the language... If you don't have 25 grand in your back pocket and wish to come here to 'start a biz.' my recommendation is to stay put. Sorry to be blunt.

Annecdotal comment: there is an old gringo man, he is not poor who owns a house in Cota...his elec. is $5 per month but he is fighting to get it down to $2.50 because he is over 65! This is downright hilarious to me and yet, on the other side of the coin, so cruel and ignorant too.

Coffeecup
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3/2/2012 12:53    
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.

Coffeecup
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3/2/2012 12:56    
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"Wow! What can I say. there is no way that this country is "going English" to satisfy the wealthy gringos coming here for a cheap life. Has anybody here spoken to the locals?"

I agree, I was incorrect on that one after I pondered it. I wrote a little too fast.

Francisco123
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3/2/2012 13:28    
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"achiku, do you even live in Ecuador or are just trying to antagonize. Municipalities revaluing is a fact here, not a pipe dream.

Please do not speak about what you know nothing about."

Oh, boy, this one is going to be good. I can't wait for the main event. I have my popcorn and ringside seats.

Margaret, will you revert to being the old meanie (I hope so, it's a fun spectator sport) or will you be Ms. Congeniality?

Francisco123
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3/2/2012 13:30    
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"I agree, I was incorrect on that one after I pondered it. I wrote a little too fast."

I can't tell you how much I admire people that own their mistakes and admit them. Bravo to you, Coffecup.

achiku
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3/2/2012 14:22    
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You, Mr. Ken Merina/Omega/Francisco/et al., are the provacateur! I live here, speak the language and repeat what is the 'word' from the locals---ecuadorians. Country going English? Nothing could be further from the truth! You just dont get it. You should attend to your own issues, aren't there some folks back there in Montana that request your presence?

achiku
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3/2/2012 14:29    
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Speaking of 'not knowing"---I just made a phone call to a friend in "avaluos" in the municipio and posed this question. He told me "no way."

Conrazon
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3/2/2012 17:05    
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You can revalue you property and have been involved in doing it 3 times. It is a process that takes a lot of time and inspections from the department of catastros in the municipio. ACHIKU is right in saying there is no way they are going to double it. In each case for us they were very reasonable and although they did raise the value,,,,,,,it was only after they inspected the site and verified the improvements.

DUNMOVN
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3/2/2012 17:29    
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That's the same way it is done in the US

All times are ET.  


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