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VI ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Madrid

03/10/2012 (dd/mm/yyyy) | Madrid


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Once again, the doors of the Palacio de Congresos in Madrid opened to welcome ESADE alumni, faculty and friends keen to attend an optimistic and encouraging Annual Conference, packed with positive ideas about achieving change and "considering the glass half full". 

Xavier Sanchez (Lic&MBA 97/AMP 08), Director of ESADE Alumni, welcomed the audience and outlined the goal of the event: to define the challenges and opportunities of the new growth model appearing in these times of change. 

First to take the stage was Miguel Trías (MBA 89), Chairman of ESADE Alumni, who explained ESADE's role in connecting entrepreneurs with investors. "We have a network a hundred-strong and, this year, 70 projects from entrepreneurs like you have secured funding". Trias also explained that the "innovative spirit should be shown not only by innovating, but also by providing the best service and quality in everything we do". Stressing leadership, he said "we need strong and socially-responsible leaders. It's vital for companies to be efficient and competitive,  and above all, to create well-being for society".

Next to speak was Eugenia Bieto (Lic&MBA 73/PhD 08), Director General of ESADE, who underlined the importance of globalisation as a means to exit today's difficult climate. "Our companies are already powerful outside Spain, and we have to ensure they become more and more competitive globally", she said. Ms. Bieto challenged the myth that Spain is not very entrepreneurial as a country, pointing out that "our entrepreneurship levels exceed those of the European Union. Spain is a magnet for young people who decide to invest time and money into setting up companies".

Luis de Guindos, Minister for Economic Affairs and Competition, thanked ESADE for inviting him to the Conference. "We're facing difficulties and figures that are far from positive, but when you come to an event like this, staged by one of the world's best business schools, you immediately realise that significant accomplishment can still be achieved", he stated.  

His words instilled positivity. "I would like to give you a message of optimism in this time of struggle. Regardless of the Spanish economy's troubles, we have the capacity to grow. Our economy is competitive and can not only overcome these tough times but make headway as well through competitive advantage. We all know there is a global economic downturn affecting the entire world; however, beyond these difficulties there are reasons to be optimistic. The future of the Spanish economy depends on the Eurozone. And the European institutions will help us take a step forward", stressed De Guindos.   

According to the minister, Spain's economy has accumulated important instabilities lately. "We took on very high levels of debt concentrated in the real estate sector; the government's economic policy sets out to straighten out these instabilities", he explained. "The government is committed to reducing the public deficit and to  restructuring our banking system. Without solvent banks, economic recovery is more difficult", he added. Proof of the major advances made and the instabilities being corrected lies in the trade surplus in relation to the Eurozone. "Since 2001 we have increased our exports by 60% and in non-tourist services we also have a surplus", explained De Guindos.  

He ended his talk by praising the entrepreneurs present. "ESADE alumni are business-minded people with innovation and principles. They are the driving force behind future prosperity. In Spain, beyond the bailout and debt levels, there is indeed an ability to compete and you are a prime example of this", he told the audience.

Next, José María Álvarez-Pallete, CEO of Telefónica, gave an interesting talk titled "The unwritten ground rules", in which he destroyed certain myths, for example the belief that we cannot improve competitiveness or productivity. "We are in a complicated situation and all Eurozone countries have shrunk regarding GDP per capita. The crisis is there, but the efforts made in Spain in recent years are huge and are helping us regain competitiveness", he commented. The second myth he dispelled was that Spain does not export, arguing that "Spain has increased its exports, more than Germany, in recent times". 

Further myths he debunked were that Spain is not capable of retaining global companies, that it relies on just a few multinationals ("that is not true, Spain relies on many small and medium-sized companies"), and that it has no capacity for innovation ("we have talent and the capacity to create amazing talent. We have shown Europe that, when we want, we can"). 

He then analysed a basic factor that is being masked by the crisis: the technological revolution. "We are experiencing the largest ever technological revolution in history; technology is changing everything. Proof of this is that any mobile phone today can process more data than the Apollo mission could when it went to the moon. Telephones are used more to browse the Internet, access social networks, listen to music or play games than to make calls. Therefore, large companies such as Telefónica need to transform and overhaul their business model", he explained.

Álvarez-Pallete committed to keeping technology in Europe and to not permitting a  brain drain of our innovation to concentrate itself in the US. "We must build a more entrepreneurial Europe and at Telefónica we show we believe this by creating new job opportunities for young people. We have launched initiatives such as Talentum in which we visit schools and universities to find the best talent; and Wayra, through which we search out and grow the best business ideas in the digital environment", he explained.

He ended his talk exemplifying a positive and brave attitude by referring to the footballer Iniesta, who, in the World Cup final against Holland, did not let himself be intimidated. "Just like he can, Spain can also. It's a question of valour and of values", he stressed. 

The final part of the Conference was taken up by the panel discussion "Spain 3.0", moderated by Javier Santiso, Professor of the ESADE Department of Economics and Director of ESADEgeo, and featuring two young entrepreneurs – living proof of  how things can be achieved with determination and desire – Lucas Carné, Co-founder and Executive Director of Privalia, and Miguel Silva, Co-Founder and Deputy Chairman of Blusens.

In just six years, Privalia has gone from ten employees to over a thousand. Lucas Carné explained the initial difficulties they had to secure funding. "It took us six months to secure funding. But, if you have the right model and you're bright enough to not trip at the first hurdle, you make headway. That said, it's true that in Spain when you need more than three million euros, you hit a barrier. We had to ask for money from abroad", he said.

His fellow speaker, Miguel Silva, owner of a Spanish technology company nearing a turnover of 100 million euros, made one thing clear: "you should have no hang-ups when taking a decision. When I travel, I notice that Spanish companies don't have a poor image abroad. However, within Spain we don't value ourselves enough". The company's beginnings were not easy, because "it seemed that technology couldn't be manufactured anywhere else but in Palo Alto", but his determination has proved that R&D can also take place outside Silicon Valley. In fact, he founded his company in Santiago de Compostela (Galicia). "My tip for success: do not be afraid. I'm convinced that we have such an amazing potential that when we get over the crisis, we will conquer the world", he predicted.

 

 

 

Programme:

"Innovation and Entrepreneurship: the driving forces behind change", is the central theme of the VI ESADE Alumni Annual Conference in Madrid. In today's business environment, Spain needs to reinvent itself. Pledging for innovation and entrepreneurship is the key to success. That's why, this year we invite you to learn from the experience of renowned speakers.

Welcome and introduction:
Xavier Sanchez (Lic&MBA 97/AMP 08), Director of ESADE Alumni

Speakers:
Miguel Trías (MBA 89), Chairman of ESADE Alumni
Eugenia Bieto (Lic&MBA 73), Director General of ESADE

Opening speech:
Luis de Guindos, Spanish Minister for Economic Affairs and Competition

Talk: "The unwritten ground rules"
Led by José María Álvarez-Pallete, CEO of Telefónica

Panel discussion: "Spain 3.0"
Panellists:
Lucas Carné, Co-Founder and General Manager of Privalia
Miguel Silva, Co-Founder and Deputy Chairman of Blusens
Javier Santiso, Professor of the ESADE Department of Economics, Director of ESADEgeo

 

José María Álvarez-Pallete
Born in Madrid in 1963 and graduated in Economics from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He also studied Economics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, as well completing the IPADE International Management Program and gaining a Advanced Diploma in Finance and Accounting from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. (More information).

Lucas Carné

Lucas Carné (Barcelona, 1971) is the co-founder and executive director of Grupo Privalia; co-founder and non-executive director of Groupalia, and seed investor and non-executive director of the companies Smithfield Case and Wineissocial. A particular highlight of his career was his time at Bain & Company, between 1999 and 2005, as a business strategy consultant developing projects in Spain, the US, Brazil and Mexico. (More information).

Miguel Silva
Miguel Silva (Santiago de Compostela, 1968) is the co-founder and executive deputy chairman of Blusens Technology and co-founder of Opera Wireless 2006-2008 (which was sold to the Norwegian firm BlomASA for 10 million euros), as well as the co-founder and business angel of several start-ups. (More information).


For further information:
91 2526845
esadealumni.madrid@esade.edu 

 
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