Report – Ecuador Business Day on Dec. 3, 2013 inside the BW-Bank in Stuttgart

CONTTIGO consulting & services organized a Business Day Ecuador on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 in the stylish rooms of the BW-Bank in Stuttgart on behalf of PROECUADOR (Institute of Export and Investment Promotion of Ecuador in Germany located in Hamburg) with the Premium-Partner BW-I (Baden-Württemberg International) and in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade as well as the IHK (International Chamber of Commerce) Stuttgart.


About 70 people from various sectors (Finance, Law, Environmental technology, Construction industry, Mechanical engineering, Woodworking, Pharmaceutical industry, Tourism, Culture etc.) attended the event. This was presented by Mrs Ines Banhardt, head Latin America Division, foreign trade and local marketing economy BW-I, which  welcomed the participants and speakers on behalf of the Organizer PROECUADOR and welcomed the following speakers.

S.E. Mr Jorge Jurado, Ambassador of Ecuador in Berlin presented his country of origin and spoke about the positioning of Ecuador in relation to the other countries of Latin America. An important theme of his speech was Ecuador’s sustainable economic growth. The Ambassador commented very positively on the region of Baden-Württemberg and mentioned that there are a lot of students from Ecuador studying at the local University and that he would welcome an intensification of the existing relationships for the future.

Mr Ulrich Mack, Member of the Executive Board of BW-I, declared in his speech that Ecuador is still quite unknown by the inhabitants of the region of Baden-Wuerttemberg and not a frequent topic of conversation, and that the BW-I is open for a more intensive contact to Ecuador.

Mr Siegfried Rapp, budding Honorary Consul of Ecuador in Baden-Württemberg, said a few words to introduce himself to the participants and informed them about the new Honorary Consulate in Ludwigsburg, which will open its doors next year.

The welcome words – simultaneously translated by a Conference interpreter from German into Spanish and vice versa – were followed by four lectures on different topics:

Mr Victor Hugo Jurado, Vice President of PROECUADOR, began his presentation „News from Ecuador“ with general data on the country Ecuador. Documented by graphical representations, he went into detail on specific themes of the economic and social area (tax and financial system, income situation, access to higher education, investment flows etc.). Mr. Jurado was espescially concerned with the automotive industry so important to his country and presented the goals of Ecuador. Culmination of his speech was the subject of the investment: framework conditions and incentives of the promotion of investment; Investment contracts and investment protection.

Mr. Alejandro Palacios-Tovar, Executive Director of CONTTIGO consulting & services (Stuttgart) referred in his speech to the economic potential of Ecuador and the intercultural business practices. As a premise, he called attention to the benefits and risks of the choice of Ecuador as business location and reported numbers from the trade of Ecuador with Germany by the year 2011. Then he illustrated the concept of „Culture“ to the participants on the basis of the iceberg model and mentioned shortly the aspect of perception, so important for the cross-cultural understanding, before finally treating the topic of business relationship. In this context, he began with a general description of different communication styles, strategies of conflict resolution and the practice of critique as well as different understandings of time and hierarchy, for then presenting the specific cultural standards and the negotiation process in Ecuador. In doing so, he illustrated to the participants the differences of the business relations prevailing in Ecuador and other cultures in  comparison to Germany and pointed out the importance of understanding the cultural dimensions of the target country in order to complete successful business activities.

Mr Juan Carlos Mejia, Sales manager of MTU Onsite Energy GmbH (Augsburg) presented as a representative of a German company which has close business relations with Ecuador an Experience Report. After a short presentation of the company profile, Mr. Mejia told the participants, how he got  the idea for a market entry in Ecuador and presented targets, procedure and distribution partners. He then talked about the current situation in Ecuador, formulated perspectives for the future and gave some personal recommendations.

Then Mr. Pablo Barahona, Senior Relationship Manager & Vice President Latin America of the LBBW (Stuttgart) focused on the for all companies very important topic of financing transactions with Ecuador – country which represents an important market for LBBW, such as Colombia and Peru. Mr. Barahona discussed growth potential, risk evaluation and hedging measures.

Last not least Mr Alexis Villamar, head of PROECUADOR, presented his institution and its targets. PROECUADOR disposes as the official institution for export and investment promotion of the Republic of Ecuador of a worldwide network of international trade offices. Mr Villamar presented his Trade Office in Hamburg to the participants and informed them about the delegation trip (information and business travel) to Ecuador from 25 to 29 March 2014, designed for interested people from the automotive industry and the renewable energy sector, offering them the opportunity to get to know the advantages of the country first-hand and create new business contacts with potential partners on the spot.

After the conference, the participants were invited to a „get-together“ where specialities of the Ecuadorian cuisine and musical entertainment where offered, giving the opportunity to the participants to conduct individual interviews both with diplomatic representatives and the members of the Government Organization of Ecuador as well as the experts of the various companies, in order to obtain additional information and to exchange ideas.

The Stuttgart-based Ecuadorian cook, Mr. Guillermo Miranda, had prepared a typical buffet of his country together with the professional support of the catering-team of the LBBW. The buffet consisted of three different courses: „Locro quiteño“ (potato soup), „Hornado“ (slowly roasted pork in a spicy sauce with white corn and potato tortillas) and – as a dessert so to speak – the „Canelazo“ (a rich hot drink with spicy rum, cinnamon and fruit), so the participants could gain a tasty glimpse into the culinary variety of Ecuadorian cuisine.

All in all it was a very informative, colourful and atmospheric evening with a lively intercultural exchange between the participants – what has been one of the main targets of this event.

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