A leading private Mexican university, chosen in 2006 to develop the plastics industry in its home state over 25 years has received a $450,000 grant from the Italian government, plus machinery and machine tools from three Italian suppliers.
The money is destined for the Technological Plastics Center (Centro TecnolÃ³gico del Plastico), which the UPAEP (Universidad Popular AutÃ³noma del Estado de Puebla AC) has opened in the city of Puebla.
The center will be housed in new premises in downtown Puebla, capital of the state of the same name, starting in January, according to Luis Tovar Yanini, director of a UPAEP department that promotes the formation and improvement of companies.
The cash will be spent on machinery and equipment and used for financing the center's Italian-backed teacher training, said María Eugenia Mesta, a trade analyst at the Italian Foreign Trade Institute in Mexico City.
The suppliers involved in the project are injection molding press maker Negri Bossi SpA of Milan, extrusion machine manufacturer Bausano & Figli SpA of Rivarolo Canavese and auxiliaries firm Valtorta Esercizi Industriali srl of Brescia.
The city of Puebla is among Mexico's six largest economies. It hosts European automotive giant Volkswagen AG's only North American assembly plant and is at the center of the state's plastics industry.
According to Tovar, 80 of the 100 plastics processors operating in the state are located in the capital city. About 25 percent of them supply the automotive industry and generate 75 percent of the business done by plastics converters in the state.
Our intention is to grow the industry, but not in terms of numbers of companies, rather, in terms of quality and added value, he said.
In 2006, the Puebla state government published a 25-year plan for developing industry there and identifying 12 major industries. UPAEP was given responsibility for the development of the plastics industry.
Among the initiatives launched by the university, in late 2009 it formed the Associate Group for the Competitiveness of Plastics, which, among other tasks, promotes the state as an investment base, investigates ways of developing new markets and helps new companies set up their operations.
The group, Grupo Asociativo de Competitividad, or GAC, includes seven plastic processors, the state's economy ministry, the local industry chamber and UPAEP itself.
The department Tovar directs has run a business incubator program for three years. Tovar said the program is ranked No. 2 nationally and No. 1 in the state.