Bloomberg Línea — In an exclusive and privileged environment, the world’s business people seek to meet with their peers outside of mass events, and mirroring a trend in other countries, private business clubs are beginning to grow in Latin America, although with some additions that bow to Latino culture.
Such clubs strive to bring together the leaders of organizations and senior executives, allowing them to network and secure future business deals.
Some clubs are local and regional, while others are international in scope.
Exclusive access is managed on a membership basis that in some cases is as high as $100,000 per year, depending on whether it is a family or individual membership, according to publicly available data collected from various entities.
A tradition of exclusivity
These clubs, which are now a tradition, date back to the 17th century when the first Gentlemen’s Clubs were established in London, where St James Street is still known as “Clubland” due to the abundance of private clubs found in the area.
Nowadays, restaurants, bars, reading rooms, meeting rooms and even lodgings worthy of the most exclusive hotels are now attracting a new generation of business leaders.
As has been the case throughout history, a distinctive feature of these clubs is the figure of the sponsors who act as mentors to new members, connecting them with others and favoring business deals in exchange for a commission.
In some cases, rigorous admission requirements are still maintained, with a proposal or evaluation of at least two existing members, followed by a socioeconomic and reputational review.
What are the benefits of membership?
- Common interests: business club members share interests in a specific area, industry or profession.
- Networking: one of the main purposes of business clubs is to facilitate the creation of opportunities to meet other professionals or entrepreneurs, exchange ideas and experiences, establish valuable contacts and collaborate on joint projects.
- Access to resources: This can include seminars, workshops, conferences, specialized publications and training.
- Events: Business clubs often organize regular events such as luncheons, dinners, conferences, trade shows and networking activities.
- Business collaboration: These spaces facilitate the identification of joint business opportunities, the creation of strategic alliances or collaboration on specific projects.
- Mentoring: some business clubs may offer mentoring programs, where more experienced members provide guidance and support to those just starting out in the industry.
- Amenities: Privileges also lie in having guaranteed access to pleasant spaces that serve as inspirational havens away from the business environment. In addition, many clubs include access to first-class gyms and swimming pools, as well as haute cuisine created by prestigious chefs.
Undoubtedly, one of the most renowned examples of this type of organization is Soho House & Co., which was born in London in 1995, and eight years later opened its first club in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, in New York. It was followed by openings in Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville and Austin, among other cities, and will open in 20 new locations by 2025, according to Bloomberg News.
Today it has 41 locations worldwide, 10 of them in London.
Soho House became popular as a membership club for the creative classes - the media, advertising and music - rather than the existing private clubs that historically catered to those working in finance or politics. That is why the only dress code is casual.
In Latin America, Soho House is opening in Mexico City and São Paulo, and already has 15 “cities without houses” in which it organizes events and meetings for future members.
Clubs in Latin America
- CEO Club, Mexico City
This select private club includes presidents and CEOs of the major local and multinational companies in the country. According to its website, this exclusive space was designed to provide its members with an environment conducive to exchanging professional experiences, identifying business opportunities and sharing cordial moments among renowned colleagues in the Mexican business scene.
Access is through recommendations from the club’s own members, with the approval of the Admissions Committee, although it is noteworthy that membership and its benefits do not entail any cost for members.
Among its networking strategies are participation in private conferences offered by internationally renowned personalities, attendance to exclusive cultural and business events in Mexico and abroad, the possibility of enjoying benefits and services provided by renowned commercial firms, as well as participation in sporting events, such as the CEO Club Invitational Golf Tournament.
- Amaterasu, Buenos Aires, Argentina
An avant-garde offering connected to the world of cryptocurrencies combined with a rich cocktail tradition, Amaterasu is a private club created by chef Esteban Leira, entrepreneur Jonathan Rivas and creative director Ela Sanchez Monge. It is located on the top floor of the Himitsu Kichi restaurant in the Palermo neighborhood, paying homage to Japanese culture, and which was the inspiration for its name.
Amaterasu operates through various membership plans, offering exclusive proposals and the opportunity to enjoy one of the best bars in the city. From there you can taste a unique variety of Japanese whiskies, and also benefit from a preferential menu, invitations to tastings, events and correspondence with friendly bars, among others.
There are two types of membership, an annual and a traditional DEFI and DEFI Legendary Membership: both are accessed with the purchase of a NFT. In the first case, it costs 2 ETH and in the second, 2.5 ETH.
Among the benefits are: access to a whiskey locker in the bar; participation in the web 3 investors club, where 20% of the NFT profits will be invested in other projects and will be divided equally among the other members.
- Club Unión, Panama City
Club Unión in Panama City is an institution that has been the epicenter of Panama’s elites since 1909, and remains steadfast in its commitment to keep its doors closed to those who do not qualify to join its exclusive community.
For many, it is a status symbol, where Panama’s high society gathers to enjoy a wide range of amenities and exclusive connections.
According to news portal El Faro25, the membership fee is $100,000 and the monthly fee is $180. It has 17 rooms with the possibility of hosting from small meetings to large events, for a fee of between $200 and $13,500, all upon acceptance by a board of admissions.
Its offering includes dining rooms, bars, discotheques, a state-of-the-art fitness center, an Olympic-size swimming pool, as well as game rooms, billiards, bingo and reading rooms. For sports enthusiasts, there are squash, basketball and tennis courts and a soccer field.
Members will mix with renowned Panamanian families and the owners of large financial, legal and communications corporations. This is why Club Unión is the meeting point for the country’s economic and political elite.
Bankers Club Ecuador, Guayaquil
The Bankers Club Ecuador is located on the top four floors of Edificio La Previsora, Guayaquil’s flagship skyscraper. With an extension of almost 54,000 square feet, it offers its select members and guests an unparalleled experience in the Ecuadorian private scene.
With a wide range of amenities designed to meet both social events and business needs, the Bankers Club has cemented its position as one of the most coveted destinations in the city.
Members and their guests enjoy a gastronomic experience, highlighted by a fusion of international flavors and Ecuadorian delicacies, prepared by talented chefs.
In short, it offers its members and guests a perfect setting for social and business events, as well as for enjoying moments of relaxation and wellness.
- Círculo de la Unión, La Paz, Bolivia.
Founded in 1932, the Círculo de la Unión continues the style of the business clubs promoted by the English model. The spirit of the Institution is to bring together prominent people of industry, commerce, letters, art and politics of that city.
- Club Colombia, Cali, Colombia
This exclusive private club has more than 90 years of tradition as a space for the Colombian business world.
Renowned for its gastronomy, it has three restaurants, Haute Cuisine, Italian and Grill; a British bar, twelve private meeting rooms, a gourmet store, a swimming pool, gym and a business center among other ammenities.
“We are a private social Club, generating connections around business, family, cultural and gastronomic events. Our members enjoy unique experiences in an exclusive environment characterized by the quality and innovation of its services,” the club’s website states.
- Club de Banqueros y Empresarios, Bogotá, Colombia.
The Bogota Bankers’ and Businessmen’s Club, with a presence in two key locations in the city, has been a mainstay for Colombia’s business elite since the 1970′s. Its state-of-the-art facilities, strategically distributed between the financial district and close proximity to city hall and public ministries, have guaranteed privacy, quality and first-class technology for its members and guests.
Its facilities, strategically distributed between the financial district and close proximity to city hall and public ministries, ensure privacy, quality and first-class technology for its members and guests. With 12 fully equipped meeting and conference spaces, the Club offers an ideal platform for business and social events.
- Club de la Unión, Santiago de Chile, Santiago
Founded in 1864 and inspired by English private clubs, this club in Chile’s capital was set up as a meeting place for conservative and liberal groups in the country, both for debate and for social and political meetings, according to its website.
To become a member, a person must be admitted according to the rules of its bylaws, from there you can enjoy this traditional environment either for recreation or business. The membership fees are destined to the support and development of the establishment.
In addition, it has benefits such as access to restaurants and bars, hairdresser, billiards room, gym, sauna, steam bath and swimming pool and library, among others.
Joining a membership club is an investment, and many who seek to make business connections or advance their reputation or social status consider it a worthwhile one. For those in the childless stages of life, where traveling, enjoying good food and connecting with like-minded people are priorities, these clubs can be a treasure trove. While the investment may seem high, the returns are also high.