The diaspora of Spanish professionals and their contribution to the internationalization of the Spanish economy

The diaspora of Spanish professionals and their contribution to the internationalization of the Spanish economy

The past 28th of November, Leading Brands of Spain Forum, in collaboration with the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, Marca España and the Embassy of Spain in Belgium, organized in Brussels a meeting called “The diaspora of Spanish professionals and their contribution to the internationalization of the Spanish economy”. A diverse group of Spanish professionals established in the Belgian capital participated in this initiative, which aimed to debate about the asset that the Spanish professionals who are living abroad represented for the internationalization of the economy and the Spanish companies.

After the welcome words by Cecilia Yuste Rojas, Ambassador of Spain in Belgium, and José Luis Bonet, President of the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, the General Manager of the Leading Brands of Spain Forum and moderator of the event, Miguel Otero, introduced the subject and the speakers.

Right after, Enrique Fanjul, member of the Scientific Council of Elcano Royal Institute, took the floor. During his intervention, Fanjul explained that over the past few years, the number of Spanish professional established abroad had increased considerably. These professionals work in Spanish companies, in multinationals, in public organizations of the countries where they are, and in international organizations. He argued that it is necessary to make an effort and establish mechanisms to take advantage of this asset of great value.

Afterwards, some success stories about professional networks abroad were presented.

The first success story was done by Wim den Tuinder, Director of IESE Alumni Association & Institutional Development. During his intervention, Wim explained the expansion process of its alumni network and the different programs of development and expansion that are carried out from IESE.

The next success story was presented by Nicolás García, Director of the “Liga Global Network”. During his intervention, Nicolás talked about the strategy and the goals that are pursued through this initiative, which seeks to consolidate the positioning of LaLiga worldwide.

Then, Juan Rodríguez-Villa, president of the Federation of Spanish Chambers of Commerce in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania (FEDECOM), described the importance of FEDECOM to create relations between Spain and other the countries around the world

Finally, a debate took place about the subject matter in which all the attendees could participate. Among the most important subjects, they discussed about the role of women in the business world, the emigration of the young Spanish talent and the role of the Spanish companies in the process of the internationalization of ‘Marca España’.

Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony 2017

Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony 2017

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized, last 27th November at the Hotel Le Plaza, their yearly Gala Dinner. The Embassy of Spain in Belgium, the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, Marca España and the Spanish Office for Patents and Brands (OEPM), collaborated specially on the event organization. During the dinner, the awards “Friends of Marca España” and “Friends of the Spanish Brands” were given. These awards aim to publicly acknowledge certain Belgian people, companies and institutions for their outstanding support and collaboration with Spain and/or Spanish brands within each of their respective professional spheres. This is the ninth edition of the awards and the first in Belgium, with previous ceremonies having taken place in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Moscow, London, Miami, Tokyo, Dubai, and Mexico.

After a welcome cocktail where the participants were delighted with cava offered by Freixenet, Institutional Wines D.O. Ca Rioja, Estrella Galicia beer, ibérico de bellota ham offered by the Regional Government of Extremadura and an appetizer elaborated by Marcos Morán, Gastronomic Director of the Restaurant Hispania Brussels, the Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony started.

First, Juan Rodríguez-Villa, President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg took the stand. During his speech, he welcomed all the attendees to the Gala Dinner, went over all the activities that took place at the Chamber on 2017 and congratulated all the awardees of the night.

Afterwards, the masters of ceremonies, Sergi Ferré and Laura Martínez, Cultural and Political Counselors respectively, at the Spanish Embassy in Belgium, gave the word to José Luis Bonet, president of the Leading Brands of Spain Forum. During his speech, Bonet highlighted the important role of the Chambers of Commerce abroad, as well as the Friends of the Marca España and Friends of the Spanish Brands’, to make them stronger and more competitive internationally.

After the projection of a video-presentation about the Spanish Brands, the masters of ceremonies introduced the awards ceremony “Friends of the Spanish Brands in Belgium”. Several Spanish Brands, aim to recognize the hard work of Belgian citizens to internationalize and expand these brands in Belgium, through this award. The awardees were:

  • JEAN PIERRE PIRET as Friend of the Brand FERMAX in Belgium
  • LOUIS CULOT KEUKENWERKBLADEN as Friend of the Brand COSENTINO in Belgium.
  • ERIC LE PAIGE as Friend of the Brand ANDREU WORLD in Belgium.
  • JEAN-LUC MURI as Friend of the Brand LLADRÓ in Belgium.
  • KEEP IT QUIET as Friend of the Brand FREIXENET in Belgium.

After the awards ceremony, the attendees enjoyed a gourmet Spanish menu elaborated by Marcos Morán, who owns a Michelin Star and has been recognized with the National Gastronomy Award.

After the dinner, the Ambassador of Spain in Belgium, Cecilia Yuste Rojas, took the stand to congratulate the initiative of awarding the people who help to create closer ties between Spain and Belgium. Then, after the video presentation of Marca España, the masters of ceremonies presented the second awards ceremony “Friends of the Marca España” in Belgium. The awardees were:

  • Award to JAN DE CLERCK as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium, for being a pioneer of foreign tourism for the entire coast of Cádiz. He is currently Chairman of the hotel group Hoteles Andaluces Con Encanto (HACE) in the province of Cádiz.
  • Award to NICHETTE GHYOOT as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium. General Director of the tour operator Transeurope she collaborates with Spain’s Department of Tourism in the organization of activities with travel agencies, showcasing different destinations in Spain, such as Andalusia, Galicia, the Basque Country, and the Canary Islands.
  • Collective award to HISPANISTAS EN BÉLGICA as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium. The acknowledge of all Spanish language and literature professors from seven Belgian universities that have academic chairs dedicated to these subjects is recognized.
  • Award to ROLAND CRACCO as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium. CEO of the Belgian company INTERPARKING, one of the leading European groups with over 350,000 parking spaces. He loves Spain, its culture and its geography. Spain is one of the countries where INTERPARKING has invested the most, and the goal is to continue expanding throughout the country.
  • Award to CARMEN VAN DEN BOSSCHE as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium. She manages Caractère, a tour operator specializing in charming hotels and experiences that is looking to Spain for the launch of new products targeted at segments and destinations that play a part in achieving the objectives set by Spain’s tourism policy.
  • Award to OMMEGANG as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium.
  • Award to BERT DEHANDSCHUTTER as Friend of the Marca España in Belgium. He is a partner at Belgian law firm Racine. He is currently considered one of the most sought after lawyers for Spanish companies trading in Belgium.

After the awards ceremony, Bert Dehandschutter, in the name of all the awarded of the night, showed his appreciation for the awards given by Marca España and by the by the Spanish Brands for their relationship with Spain, both in the cultural and economic aspects.

Finally, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, High Commissioner for the Marca España closed the event by thanking  the Friends of the Marca España and Friends of the Spanish Brands their hard work for internationalize the Spanish Brands.

The Chamber thanks all the attendees their presence, and the Embassy of Spain in Belgium, the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, Marca España and the Spanish Office of Brands and Patents their collaboration in the organization of the event. Furthermore, we appreciate the collaboration of the sponsor companies and institutions: Freixenet, D.O.Ca Rioja, Estrella Galicia, Hispania Brussels, Quality Media Producciones, Junta de Extremadura, Indra and Santander Consumer Bank.   

Cocido Madrileño: A Benefit Lunch for Action Against Hunger at Terry’s Salcedo

Cocido Madrileño: A Benefit Lunch for Action Against Hunger at Terry’s Salcedo

On October 20, a benefit lunch was held for Action Against Hunger, in cooperation with La Camara and Terry’s Salcedo, for a cause to help fight malnutrition in the Philippines.

The lunch also celebrates Spain’s traditional dish, the Cocido Madrileño, a chickpea-based stew with vegetables and meat as well as other entrée specialties. It was held at Terry’s Bistro in Salcedo Village, a classic Spanish restaurant that serves traditional Spanish cuisine.

The restaurant’s very own Chef Juan Carlos de Terry introduced Cocido, Madrid’s quintessential stew, which was the highlight of the lunch. It was prepared with Terry’s chorizo and Morcilla Iberico-bellota, beef shank, pork belly, chicken, Andalusian chickpeas, simmered in a flavorful broth. The lunch was attended by several Spanish expats and other guests who enjoyed the sumptuous lunch paired with wine.

This charity event for Action Against Hunger was made to help promote nutrition and fight hunger wherein part of the proceeds of the benefit lunch will be donated to their projects. Action Against Hunger was launched in 2000, which has helped more than 70,000 people who received various aids such as nutritional support and access to safe water and sanitation, among others. Part of their project is the Restaurants Against Hunger, which invites restaurants all over Manila to participate to end hunger in the country by “promoting a solitary dish” from their menu. Part of the proceeds of the price of the dish will be donated for the projects to fight malnutrition in the Philippines.

The president of Fedecom takes part in the Plenary Session of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce

The president of Fedecom takes part in the Plenary Session of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce

Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, president of the Federation of Official Spanish Chambers of Commerce in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, took part on July 18th in the Extraordinary Plenary Session of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, which took place at BBVA headquarters in Madrid, concurring with the celebration of the “Big Data, Big Day” event and the presentation of the BBVA Research’s “Impacto de la Digitalización de las Empresas Españolas” report.

During the meeting, José Luis Bonet, president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, performed a first balance of the “Plan de Impulso a la Digitalización de las Pymes Españolas”, a project jointly launched with BBVA whose object is to explain and foster Spanish SMEs’ transition to a a digital environment. This program agrees with BBVA Research’s report when stating that, even if Spain is better equipped than other Southern European countries like Italy or Portugal, there is still a great margin of improvement when it comes to SMEs’ adaptation to new technologies.

To conclude, the forum stressed the importance of said adaptation not only to improve SMEs’ competitiveness in mature market niches, but also as an engine for exports to new markets. These tools, along with new data-engineering techniques, are, according to the experts, the future of Spanish small and medium enterprises.

Spanish Tapas Tour 2017

Spanish Tapas Tour 2017

The Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain organised in June the first edition of the Spanish Tapas Tour, a new gastronomic event that brought to London the best flavours from Spanish cuisine.

Based on one of the most important events in Spain, the week of the tapas, The Spanish Tapas Tour took place from 12th to 18th June. During that week, 10 of the best Spanish restaurants in London offered a Tapa and a drink at a fixed price, with plates that represented a wide range of regions from the country.

Arbina Offered a “Tazacorte” octopus ink tempura on a bed of Galician sand and planckton; Barrica, Aubergine, jamón & manchego ‘lasagne’ with an almond vinaigrette; Boquería, Suckling pig, aubergine torrija, quince and blood orange; Brindisa, smoked anchovies with mojo borage and crostini and Copita, sardines & beetroot – pickled egg with capers, membrillo & a black olive puree.

Drakes Tabanco offered presa ibérica with Café de Paris butter; Ibérica, baby carrot tempura with homemade tartare sauce; Hispania, salmorejo with flavours of the sea; Sagardi, ‘Roxario’ ciderhouse-style salted cod omelette, and Tapas Revolution offered ham croquettes.


During that week, more than 350 tapas were sold and the public could try real Spanish flavours and felt just as if they were in Spain. The Spanish Tapas Tour also had its own passport, where people got a stamp after tasting the tapa of each restaurant.

The participants of the Spanish Tapas Tour had the chance to take part in two different contests. The first one gave them the opportunity to win a city break to Spain. They just needed to sample at least 4 different tapas and choose their preferred one. A raffle took place among the eligible passports and a lucky winner will now travel to Spain. We would like to thank Iberia Express and NH Hotels for kindly providing the flights and the hotel stay for two people.

The most highly valued tapa from the public vote was the Tazacorte octopus from Arbina. We want to congratulate and thank them for their active involvement on this event.

A second contest was held on Instagram. People should upload a picture of their tapa using the hashtag #SpanishTapasTour. The most liked picture won a hamper of typical Spanish products, thanks to Eatapas.

25TH ANNIVERSARY GALA DINNER – Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

25TH ANNIVERSARY GALA DINNER – Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

This Gala was special for a number of reasons but very especially because we had the privilege to host the Friends of Spain Awards for the first time in Hong Kong. Thank you to everyone who attended to the Gala Dinner and thank you for celebrating our 25th Anniversary with us.

“The event was a sell out and the quality of the attendants and speakers in terms of representation of the Spanish business community was first rate. The combination of  the dinner with the Friends of Spain Awards provided a good balance of social interaction and professional relevance. 

This Gala Dinner has set the benchmark for future Chamber events of this nature at a high level. Congratulations to all those involved in the organization of this excellent event.”

Alex de la Iglesia

“This years gala dinner was a great event at a magnificent venue. Many things made it special, but personally, having the “Foro de Marcas Renombradas Españolas” as part of it, was truly what gave that special touch. This fact brought to my mind memories from the 2005 edition of this Forum, as I had the unique privilege of being there with Seve Ballesteros, whom was awarded and recognized as Ambassador of the Brand Spain in the category of Sports. 

I would like to thank and congratulate Alfonso, Bonnie and all the team for the enormous effort and work, and I take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Xmas and lots of health and success for 2016.”

Ivan Ballesteros

“This year’s Gala Dinner 2015 was definitely one to remember! From distinguished guests, landmark location and marvelous food and drinks, to great entertainment and awards, the event truly was a journey of sensations and experiences within a solid business-friendly environment. Congratulations to the organization team – can’t wait for next year!”

Johanna Gonzalez Riusech

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg awards its Company of the Year Prize 2016 to everis

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg awards its Company of the Year Prize 2016 to everis

On February 1st, 2017, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg awarded everis, in its fourth edition, the “Company of the Year” award 2016. Through this prize, the Chamber annually awards the promotion of commerce and Spanish business development in Belgium and Luxembourg.

The award was given at an event organized by everis with the collaboration of the Chamber, attended by such figures as Alexander De Croo, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, Cecilia Yuste Rojas, Spanish Ambassador in Belgium, Miguel Aguirre de Cárcer, Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain in NATO, members of the Chamber, business executives, members of the Spanish and international diplomatic corps, as well as representatives of European institutions.

Everis is a company of the NTT DATA group that offers business solutions, strategy, development and maintenance of technological applications and outsourcing. The company, which operates in the telecommunications, financial, industry, utilities, energy, public administration and healthcare sectors, achieved a turnover of 816 million euros in the last fiscal year. Nowadays, it has more than 17,000 professielsblatononals distributed in its offices and centers of high performance in 15 different countries.

The Catalan technology consultant lands in Belgium in 2011 with only two people. Five years later, everis has grown steadily, reaching 39 million in the 2016 financial year. Its accelerated growth in staff (expected to reach 450 people working on its projects by March) has led to the relocation of its Belgian headquarters to their new offices.

As part of the inauguration of its new headquarters in Brussels, an event was held in which attendees could tour the new offices, meet their employee-robot Pepper (with whom they could interact and take photographs) and live different demos of some of the activities carried out by the company.

Later, Els Blaton, CEO of the company in Belgium, gave a welcome speech to all attendees, in which she thanked their presence and reviewed the results obtained by everis Belgium in these five years.

She underlined that she feels “proud of the group for three specific reasons: the culture of the company, the results obtained and their showing of talent, creativity and innovation.” In addition, she wanted to highlight the diversity of her workforce of 28 different nationalities and gender equality, reaching almost 50%.

decrooNext, Alexander de Croo, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecommunications and Post Office, made a pro-digital exhibition focusing on the importance of technology in people’s lives.

De Croo pointed out the need for political forces to foster the flow of information that could benefit citizens, as well as the importance of investing in education: “the real infrastructure of today are human beings.”

Following the intervention of De Croo, the President of the Chamber, Juan Rodríguez-Villa with Ambassador Cecilia Yuste awarded the “Company of the Year” prize 2016 to Óscar Abril, Managing Partner at everis BeNeLux. Rodríguez-Villa acknowledged the role of everis in Belgium and expressed the Chamber’s commitment to support the establishment of Spanish companies in Belux.

abrilÓscar Abril was excited about the prize: “this award means a lot to us. We celebrate success and growth, our relocation to these offices and our establishment in the Netherlands.”

Making a synthesis of their trajectory in Belgian territory, the difficulties and the good results obtained, Abril concluded “of what I am most proud of is the team and its evolution. We have good people who share the everis values and ambitions. ”

After the intervention of Abril, Marc Alba, father of robot Pepper, made an exhibition in which he explained the benefits of technology combined with human capital within the company.

Finally, all the attendees enjoyed a cocktail to celebrate the anniversary of everis, the inauguration of their new offices in Brussels and the award given by the Chamber.

COCEF celebrates its 130th anniversary and delivers its 2016 awards

COCEF celebrates its 130th anniversary and delivers its 2016 awards

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in France (COCEF) celebrated its 130th anniversary on 15th December. The Spanish Ambassador in France, his Excellency Ramón de Miguel and the President of COCEF, Mr. José Michel García, handed the prizes of the 2016 COCEF awards.

Among the prizes awarded, SAICA received the Company of the year award, CT Ingenieros the the SMEs award and Mrs. Teresa Ribera (IDDRI director and former Spanish state minister for climate change) received the 2016 Person of the Year award.

During the event held in the prestigious Opera salon of the Paris le Grand Intercontinental Hotel, the president of the COCEF talked about the parallelism between the second industrial revolution and its enormous socio-cultural transformations that took place in 1886 (when COCEF was founded), with the current period, given the revolution taking place in the technological field and the new environmental challenges.

The Ambassador of Spain in France, his Excellency Ramón de Miguel, highlighted the close collaboration between COCEF and the Economic and Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in France. He also emphasized the effectiveness and the importance of the role of COCEF in the international trade, for the companies’ services and congratulated and showed his admiration to the COCEF President.

Close to 200 people attended the event, including members of the Spanish diplomatic body and the executives of the most influential companies of both Spain and France.

The President of FEDECOM Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons and the Secretary General of the Official Spanish Chamber in Belgium and Luxembourg, María Catalán, participated in the celebration supporting the activities developed by COCEF in France.

IV Edition of the European Parliament for Enterprises

IV Edition of the European Parliament for Enterprises

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, represented by its President, Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, took part last 13 October in the IV Edition of the European Parliament of Enterprises (EPE) organised by the Spanish Chamber, and in collaboration with the European Parliament and EUROCHAMBRES.


The event was opened by the President of the Spanish Chamber, José Luis Bonet, in the welcome cocktail which took place on October 12. As in previous years, in the framework of the European Parliament of Enterprises, a working breakfast was organised between the business delegation and the Spanish MEPs in the Hemicyle the 13 October.

The meeting was held in the European Parliament, from 08:15-10:00 AM in the MEPs’ locations.

After the MEPs’ speeches, a question and answer period was opened and the Spanish business representatives could interact with them.

The working breakfast aims to building bridges between the business community and the European legislators in order to encourage an exchange of opinions and views about policies and Community programmes of interest to companies.

The European Parliament for Enterprises was held during the afternoon. Under the slogan “Europe needs Business, Business needs Europe” more than 800 entrepreneurs of 45 different European countries gathered in the Hemicycle of the European Parliament and rose to their feet to demonstrate their belief in the European project. Besides, they had  the chance to have a direct debate with high representatives of the EU institutions and to provide them with a direct bottom-up feedback on EU policies. The Spanish delegation was made up of 70 entrepreneurs and representatives of different Spanish chambers of commerce led by the president of the Chamber of Spain, José Luis Bonet


“The time has come for businesses to reiterate their capacity and willingness to provide solutions to the challenges of today: globalisation, unemployment, unfair competition, migration and climate change.” With these words EUROCHAMBRES` Chairman Richard Weber inaugurated the fourth edition of the European Parliament of Enterprises.

During the subsequent debates and votes on trade, the single market, sustainability and skills, companies called for EU policies allowing them to contribute addressing these challenges while being able to compete globally.

Plenary session of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce: “It is impossible to be competitive without being sustainable”

Plenary session of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce: “It is impossible to be competitive without being sustainable”

Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, President of FEDECOM Europe.Africa-Asia-Oceania, participated in the Plenary session of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, which was held on 19 July Santander Bank’s headquarters in Madrid. The meeting was also attended by the Director-General for Environment of the European Commission, Daniel Calleja.

Calleja highlighted that the Chambers of Commerce have a crucial role to play in implementing policies to promote the competitiveness and the growth of our businesses. He claimed that to consolidate the economic recovery we have to work in four areas: investment, internationalization, innovation and adoption of new production models, and, finally, integration and education.

In addition, the Plenary session of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce approved the incorporation of Gestamp, Orange, SEAT, SUEZ Spain, Deloitte and Fire de Barcelona as vocal collaborators. With the inclusion of this new group of companies the business participation in the institution through the vocal collaborator role is widened and strengthened. Which is is a key element in the Chamber system empowerment.