Expanish: Canary Islands experts in the Middle East
Expanish AS Consultants A.I.E. is a group of enterprises based in the Canary Islands with an experience of more than thirty years. We are specialized in design, development and management of architecture, engineering, infrastructures and transport projects, and also energy, image and communication projects.
We have been working in the Middle East for five years, and more recently in northern African countries. We are currently working in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and the United Kingdom.
Why do you think it is important for the business development looking at foreign markets?
Our international plan started after the building crisis in the Canary Islands. We think this pplan of operating abroad is the best way for growing professionally. Also, for making some improvements for competitiveness and efficiency of the enterprise as a whole, and earn some prestige in the local market, learn about other business cultures, and of course, to have access to a broad market with more action possibilities which can make the risks of operating in an unique market.
What are the current projects in which the enterprise is right now working? In which countries? And why those countries?
We are currently working in the Emirates for Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, by building four new veterinary centers and the upgrading of other 24 healthcare centers.
We also are now considering other options in Egypt. Such projects are the improvement of roads, and the creation of a sports complex for a local football team. Those projects are still in their first stages. In spite of that, getting the acceptance for managing these projects could be a huge success for Expanish, and this will make us to be more present in Egypt.
What were the main problems when operating abroad? How did you solve them? Did you have some help for solving these problems?
Besides linguistic and cultural barriers, our most important problem was, definitely, the lack of financial resources to implement a complete strategy to get access into the target markets.
We have been working several years with expatriates in the Emirates, but we did not continue working with them because of economic issues. Now we are taking part in Proexca’s professional scholarship program. We have three export managers in different countries for several months. Thanks to this scholarship program, we are reinforcing our abroad presence.
We also had support from ICEX and the abroad commercial offices network (Red de Oficinas Comercialesen el Exterior). We also took part in the internationalization program ‘Canarias Aporta 2015, that helped us to open our office in Egypt thanks, especially, to the economic help.
Institutional support both nationally and locally made us grow in other countries.
Did you get some international success?
Our main international success was that we could create an international infrastructure, so we could have closer conection to customers for giving them the best service. If we talk about economy, we got some projects in the Middle East, but we know that the best is yet to come, because we did not stop getting better and better in this time.
Was it easy to go abroad? How did the experience start?
It is obviously a difficult task to start up in other markets. Results are not achieved immediately. We have to work really hard if we want to persevere. We must make a lot of work without the certainty that you are getting the results of what you’ve done. The added difficulty in our area is that many projects that are prepared (design, previous analysis) are not finally executed or it turns out they do not win the tender.
We started our international work at the PIPE (Plan de Iniciación a la Promoción Exterior), and although it started from ESESE Architects, we then realized that joining our capacities, there is a greater possibility of success. For those reasons is that we created ‘Expanish’, a joint-venture that provides services abroad, that is capable of competing with other professional service consultancies.
Since then, we have been focusing most of our efforts and time on knowing how some Middle East markets work, preparing us to provide some competitive services, and establishing relations in order to make partnerships with local enterprises. This factor is important so that we can work in those countries.
Why do you recommend working abroad?
We all consider the local market has lots of limitations. Those limitations can be seen clearly and international expansion represents the only way of improving the business. We also know that challenges are necessary for improving our business and growing professionally.
And, despite the competitiveness, there are still many possibilities in other countries. We must know how to benefit from them.
Carla García Hernández
Business Development Manager
Tel: 822 012 004