In Mexico, informality prevails, and this results in a failure to comply with laws, rules, regulations, and other legal frameworks.
When we think about starting a new business, we have many aspects in mind that we consider necessary when starting from scratch. These include the business objective, initial investment, the market we’re going to focus on, financial projections, the people who’ll be involved, logistics, the supply or value chain (be it products or services), and forms of payment.
There are a multitude of business aspects that are, without doubt, essential to starting a business. However, I dare say that we rarely associate Law with Entrepreneurship, and it is even less common to consider the legal aspect as one of the essentials.
Although at first glance it may seem that Law and Entrepreneurship are unrelated words and concepts, the reality is that academic and professional paradigms have created weak barriers that we should begin to tear down. Law graduates have a lot to contribute to the world of entrepreneurs, just as entrepreneurs have many lessons to teach us.
Precisely because of this, we set ourselves the task a couple of years ago of creating a Law clinic in which students would have the opportunity to give first-hand legal advice to Tec entrepreneurs, to people who are interested in starting a business or social project, who were already taking the first steps towards starting out.
When we met with these people, it came as no surprise to discover that they already had a perfectly prepared business plan, with all the elements I previously mentioned. They had everything carefully calculated and practically had a foot in the door to getting started. But when we asked them how they were doing on the legal side, around 90% told us that “they had nothing”.
What next? That’s exactly where the legal specialists come in. Are you going to start out on your own? Are you going to have partners? Do you already have a legal or trade name for your project? Have you registered your trademark? Do you have a logo for your brand? Are you going to hire staff? Will you have assets? Do you have contracts yet? Do you have a place of business? Which permits are you going to need?
Due to bad commercial practices and customs, informality prevails in Mexico, which results in a failure to comply with the laws, rules, regulations, and other applicable legal frameworks. Despite having a business with huge potential, or even an already successful business, this can result in obstacles to growth, administrative penalties or fines, and even discovering that the project is impossible, or that the business may have to shut down.
This is just the beginning of the relationship between Law and Entrepreneurship, since this “partnership” continues for the remainder of the life cycle of a business or social project and is important even for correctly completing commercial transactions or closing business activities.
For all these reasons (and many more), I recommend that all entrepreneurs approach a law graduate to advise them when developing their projects and have them on hand for any questions or problems (they say we have experience in solving them).
Finally, I invite you to visit Tec de Monterrey’s E&L Clinic, currently on the Mexico City and Santa Fe Campuses, where we have the beautiful opportunity to support social entrepreneurship projects from a corporate legal perspective. (Ana María García Ceceña, Director of the Entrepreneurship and Law Clinic at the Tec’s Santa Fe and Mexico City Campuses)