ALONDRA, sustainability to improve life’s abroad
Under the name Alondra, their mission is summarized in two words that include its raison d'être: "Improving Life". In this sense, its main objective is to contribute to the design and development of intelligent, sustainable and proactive territories through the use and application of renewable energies, new technologies, digital content, and finally, innovative economic models "Innoeconomics" that allow to improve the quality of people’s life under a model of Sustainable Human Development.
"...We have spared no efforts to continue opening doors to the highest national and international levels, we have opened the range of action towards new countries where we can make our contributions, we have dedicated ourselves to look for alternative sources of financing, inside and outside of Spain and the European Union."
Alondra has been conceived as an international platform for the consulting and development of sustainable projects "Turnkey" aimed at enhancing technology at the people’s service, and to contribute to the preservation of the environment as well as counteract the effects of climate change, and to educate proactively so that others can apply, disseminate and share what they have learned.
What is the current company’s main activity?
Our main activity is the integral consultancy for the subsequent design, development, execution and implementation of projects that are identified and required in each case. For this, we integrate Sustainability, with Technology, R + D + I, Digital Content and "Innoeconomics".
Considering people as the center of the development model, Alondra simultaneously incorporates three areas of action. First, it ensures the use and application of renewable energies and energy efficiency, good use and efficient water treatment, air treatment, management and intelligent use of the land as well as the use of waste, by favoring the preservation of the environment in any of the solutions adopted. Secondly, it makes use of available technology, of the Internet of Things, the Internet
of People, of R + D + I and Education with Fun, so that each solution turns to the benefit for society, reaching a greater number of people and finally, considers the socioeconomic variables that guarantee the sustainability of the projects and their financing, under a new approach that we have called "Innoeconomics".
Why is it interesting for business development to look at foreign markets?
In our own case, the products and services we offer are of universal necessity and scope. In fact, the vast majority of our activities are framed within the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the United Nations. This forces us to give a global character to the projects we design, which leads us to look towards foreign markets.
What projects are you currently doing abroad? In which countries? Why?
We have been developing and presenting a large project called ENERLAND, The Power of Fun™, also known as "The Land of Energy" in several countries since some years ago. It consists on a unique initiative in the world that is based on a "Sustainable Human Development Program" and entails the creation of a new 100% sustainable tourism destination, which will function as a great showcase for innovation as well as the development of other initiatives included in the project.
ENERLAND ™ covers different areas of action: sustainability, health, culture, sports, education, business, technology, cooperation for development among others. Everything is linked to leisure and fun through five (5) theme parks that work as tractors and motivators elements.
Some examples of sub-projects that are part of ENERLAND ™ and that we are currently promoting in countries such as Spain, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Romania, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry among others, are:
*SunBik ™: 100% sustainable intermodal public transport system made up of smart electric bicycles that are recharged with solar energy in their own parking lot. SunCar is under the same concept.
*The Green School: it is a new integral community educational model, 100% sustainable in terms of energy, water, soil and air, oriented as a center for Sustainable
Human Development and the improvement of the Welfare Index of its community of influence. It is based on the principles of Sustainability, Social Balance and Fraternity, and it is also based on the concepts of Education with Fun, applied universal knowledge, the use of cutting-edge technology and the Internet of People, access to information, entrepreneurship and finance, and affectionally sharing the principles and values that allow us growth, as teamwork and healthy coexistence.
*ECOPARQUE: it consists on the design and development of a plant for the integral treatment of urban solid waste with energy recovery by gasification and biogas. It is combined with educational and awareness elements through "gamming".
*MercaVida: it consists on a platform under the concepts of "Innoeconomics" and the "Internet of People", focused on the intelligent sale of food products and non- perishable mass consumption.
*Think & Go Factory: it is the creation of a new space for innovation and co- working. It is an initiative designed to bring the development of projects and the creation of technology-based companies with entrepreneurs in the places where it is implemented.
*Magic City: it is based on tourist infrastructure, historical, natural parks and points of interest in a place. Its main objective is to create a new sustainable tourism destination, which is destined to learning and education with fun, to universal culture, to the rescue of history, to environmental awareness, and to the incorporation of sustainability in the city, through using the city as an integral part of a large stage for a game of Augmented Reality and/or Virtual Reality,.
*Energy Management and Control (GCE): under the FIMAC Platform, it is the development of software for the management and control of energy consumption in homes and businesses, especially by the use of refrigerators and appliances in general, involving a reduction of losses in the electricity network.
*Sustainable Human Development in Guinea Bissau: we have initiated a process through collaborators in Bissau that is aimed at signing a Tripartite Agreement (United Nations, Government and the Business Sector) for cooperation in the design and development of a sustainable human model. This agreement involves the execution of projects in the areas of infrastructure development, energy and water, food, industry, tourism, among others. All this idea is created within the framework of a local educational program that helps in the development of other initiatives.
What kind of problems have you faced when going abroad? How have you solved them? Have they received support?
In the case of ENERLAND, what has meant great barriers to entry is the complexity of the project and the high investment, even though all countries contacted (United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, United States, Mexico, Brazil and now Spain) have shown their interest in the project.
The most important reasons why the project has not been published yet are diverse. We have gone from not being able to locate the land suitable for its construction, until we have to face the economic crisis of Dubai during the years 2008- 2009 and the "Impeachment" of the President of the Government of Brazil in the years 2015-2016, with the well-known fall of all country’s institutions practically.
Even though we were urged to develop the project in Canary Islands and other autonomous communities, in the most recent Spanish case the support has been very weak, which has been deepened by the lack of own resources for the contribution of the seed capital destined to the acquisition of land as well as the subsequent obtaining of permits and licenses.
On the other hand, considering that many of our initial clients are Public Administrations, we have encountered other barriers that we have had to face and overcome. Some of them are the lack of decision and political will, the lack of resources, both of our own and of the Administrations, our long-term vision of the projects as opposed to the short-term ones by the leaders, the simplistic application of the laws for the awarding of contracts, as well as having to maintain a balance between the generation of short-term income and the sale of projects and services that require much more time for consolidation.
Because of what I explained above, we have been often forced to reinvent ourselves. We have spared no effort to continue opening doors to the highest national and international levels; we have opened the range of action towards new countries where we can make our contributions; we have dedicated ourselves to look for alternative sources of financing, inside and outside Spain and the European Union, to dismantle large projects into smaller and easier to work as well as to develop project units. Finally, we have started to change our operating way and to manage the company with just little support except for ICEX and its workers, with whom we have been working for some years.
Have you achieved any achievement at the international level?
Definitely yes! It is clear that our company is already known and maintains good references in some countries although some of the projects have not been developed so far as well as the fact that we have established subsidiaries of the company in Charlotte, North Carolina-USA, in France and in Natal Rio Grande do Norte-Brazil, which various reasons we had to close.
A good evidence is the fact that we have been contacted by Mercosur Chamber of Commerce and the Latin American Union of Countries (CCM-ULA), whose main headquarters are in Brazil, for the constitution of a Delegation in Canary Islands that will serve as a platform for the countries of Mercosur as well as for others linked to the Chamber. We have been contacted from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mexico, Guinea Bissau, Romania and Dubai to present our projects and evaluate ways of working together, which is a great satisfaction that gives us the strength to move forward.
Has it been easy to go abroad? How did your experience begin?
It has not been easy at all, since we have always been pioneers and innovators in the projects we have tackled, with the advantages and disadvantages which comes from it. We normally have to start from scratch.
Since 2016, we have started our internationalization and we have started to develop renewable energy facilities in Germany, France and Spain in partnership with two (2) German companies (more than 15MW). Following the success we decided to enter the United Arab Emirates and the United States. In Dubai we started our internationalization process in Free Trade Zone of that country, but it was not finished due to the economic crisis that arose and forces Abu Dhabi to divert funds for the recovery of the Emirate.
However, in United States the company did install itself, through setting up its headquarters in Charlotte in order to try to create an axis of development of renewables in the east of that country in parallel to California, where our company was the pioneer. In spite of having obtained the support of the regional electricity company Duke Energy and the financial sector installed in the city (Bank of America, Wachovia Bank, Sun Trust, etc.), the fall of Lehman Brothers as well as the explosion of the financial bubble made the projects in development (more than 21 MW in photovoltaic) will be paralyzed. Consequently we had to turn back.
After the request made by the Beacon Council of Miami to build our ENERLAND project in that city, which could not be done due to the lack of appropriate land, the opportunity was taken to introduce our technology in renewable matter in the State of Florida as well. This was attempted through the local power company while a project was proposed for the reconversion of the port and the Miami airport into sustainable infrastructures. However, despite the fact that the project was very popular, the country and local laws were not yet ready to develop renewables in the region. In this sense, it was decided to look for new opportunities.
Once Mexico and Brazil were analyzed to propose the construction of ENERLAND in those countries, as in the meantime develop the industry of renewables, especially photovoltaics, in the region, we received a proposal from the Superintendency for the Development of Northeast Brazil (SUDENE), due to the presentation of the project that we did to the General Secretariat of the United Nations, to the Directive of the Andean Development Corporation and to the President of the Inter-American Development Bank. In such proposal we were asked to develop the project in the city of Natal, RN to serve as the engine of development of that region by virtue of the differences between the north and the south of Brazil. After several meetings and signing of agreements, we decided to set up a subsidiary of the company in that city and we try to develop the renewable energy industry at the same time. After three (3) years of continuous efforts and contributions, it was decided to cancel our operations in that country for the reasons mentioned above.
In spite of everything that has been done, the time and the large amounts of money invested up to the present, it is now that new opportunities have been opened, including the possibility of retaking what has been done previously. Consequently, our effort continues and we are sure that very soon we will reap the fruits of what we have sown.
Why would you recommend going abroad?
The world is our home and we are its citizens by universal right. Globalization is an undeniable reality and the fact that having products and services which can be replicated in other latitudes is a comparative advantage and it is also competitive for any company. On the other hand, it is well known that "no one is a prophet in their land", so it is necessary to know the greatness of humanity, to create and to look for new ways to grow, both as a person and as an entrepreneur, even though nobody asks you to; we understand the world’s functioning and what we can do for it and what it can do for us; maybe, we will be heard from where we were once thrown into other directions.
Manuel Rojas Saume
Director General - CEO Proyectos e Innovaciones Consultech, S.L.
Tel: +34 619 678 515
Translation: Raquel Odeh Santana