R,D & I on environment and engineering: SIELTEC CANARIAS' story abroad
Sieltec Canarias was set up in 2003. Since then, this enterprise is becoming one of the most important enterprises related to R&D for producing their own devices for environmental and scientific purposes.
This enterprise is focused on environmental engineering. Also, they make some works on consultancy, and they also sell products and services in some areas like weather, air quality, sea and air transport, and sky radiation. Also, their products are directed to the energetic, climatic and environmental sector. The enterprise has among their employees, two doctors, two graduates, four engineers and five technicians. The increasing number of workers in this enterprise made them adapting to customers' necessities, and their R&D internal jobs.
Why do you think it is interesting to look up for international markets for business development?
As a result of our R&D work, we have developed a series of scientific instrumental for a multi-sector market, as we’ve already described before. These devices can be used in many places around the world. That is because we have detected that there are some necessities that have to be solved with our own methods. So, international markets are an important target for our trading activities.
What are the projects in which you are currently working? What are the target countries? Why those countries?
There are many projects in which we are working. We are currently making some negotiations for introducing our cloud automatic observation system, SONA, in countries such as Argentina, United States, Cuba, and France. For all those detailed markets, our international customers have already considered our system as a proper and complementary solution for their surveys in different areas.
In your own point of view, what are the products that will help the enterprise to its internationalization?
Among our products, we have already mentioned the SONA system, a device that is now being sold in other countries. This system is used to objectively analyse the amount of clouds within the Earth. This product became the motor for the R&D of the enterprise. That is because similar products sold around the world do not have the same such advanced detection algorithms, as we have in our system. Though, those systems have a much higher price.
Also, we think that our sky radiation measurement systems will have a huge impact all around the world. Such products are the multi-channel photometer, sky color index detector, multi-channel global solar radiation detector, automatic multi-channel photometer, and multi-channel diffuse sky radiation detector. We have applied such advanced hardware improvements. Those improvements help us obtain better results with lesser production costs than the current instrumental.
What were the main problems when facing internationalization? How did you solve them? Did you get some support?
The main problem was making the brand to be known in other countries. Due to the fact that most of our customers are directly related to important scientific corporations, we have solved this problem by R&D collaborations with these corporations, by taking part in international scientific events. By taking part in those events, we finally could show them the appropriateness of those improvements. For making this possible, we had the support of institutions such as ICEX and Proexca. Also, the program ‘CANARIAS APORTA’, that permited us making these trading activities internationally. We have already made some improvements to our communication tools, and adapted our working plan to a more solid structure, that made us have a clarified international approach. For these reasons, we think that the ‘CANARIAS APORTA’ program is a crucial plan in order to make all those interested enterprises start planning international trade.
Did you get any international success?
We have achieved some important successes:
- We took part in the CIMO-TECO international conference, in October 2012, with a talk from our researcher, dr. Yézer González. We have the chance of introducing our solution in an event promoted by the International Weather Organization. We have also have generated many commercial contacts with many enterprises of this sector through arownd the world.
- We also have been permitted to have a keynote at the IMECO International Congress. This keynote is scheduled for the month of June. We are so proud of our successes and efforts in the research area. Also, we think it is important that these scientific works could be presented at international events like this one. We are very interested in the results we could get from these keynotes.
- We have received some offer requests from many international enterprises, such as NASA from the States, NortropGruman, from United States, Nagoya University in Japan, the Argentinian Minister of Defense, Abengoa Solar from Spain, and Acciona Solar from Spain.
Was it easy to go abroad? How did it start?
Internationalization had some problems such as the lack of a promotional structure, on-line communication, etc. But thanks to the support and our efforts for making us known through scientific events, collaborations, and many international scientific centers and enterprises related to renewable energies have been contacting us in these years. These things made our brand to be more known internationally.
We think that, as we are directing to concrete sectors, our international experience is far away from other enterprises experience. In spite of that, internationalization is not an easy way, just because we are a medium-size enterprise. Taking part in the program ‘CANARIAS APORTA’ made us learn more and get some benefit of an institution that has a bigger experience in international trade with enterprises from the Canary Islands.
Why do you recommend going abroad?
Knowing that these products can be used in many parts of the world, and taking into account that local markets could not support our production, the only solution is going abroad quickly. We see that there is a demand that could be solved with our ideas. And in spite of international competitiveness, we see that we are capable of covering the international market quote in the next years.
Research and development of all our products does not require a higher amount of industrial infrastructure. Canary Islands are a proper region for measuring and analyzing the quality of our sky for atmosphere and sky radiation research. For this type of research we have some renowned organizations. We also have personnel that had already been trained in this scientific area. In the case of export, this can help us attract more economic resources to the region.