Business is on the up!
ON that special day last week, when the Camera de Comercio (Chamber of Commerce), the Spanish Government and Cabildo Presidents were rounded up for the low-key visit to Tenerife by Chinese President Hu Jintao, I took the opportunity to speak with the Managing Director of the Camera de Comercio.
And Vicente Dorta Antequera spelled out exactly what’s in store for the Canaries, with international interest and investment coming from both East and West.
Vicente has led the reformation of the Camera (Chamber), cementing relationships locally with businesses and organisations to cut through the archaic system and red tape.
He told me: “Witnessing the disappearance of 14% of the 65,000 registered businesses inTenerifehas led us to change our focus, and the main success of the Camera now is the level of support and education we give to new and small businesses.
“We’ve created a ‘one-stop shop’, enabling new businesses and enterprises to enter the market quickly and cost-effectively.”
This is opposed to the old system, which could take weeks to register a company.
When asked what changes he would like to see in the short term, Vicente said: “It is vital to see a restructuring of the financial system, to create equal opportunity for people wanting to start businesses in the Canaries.
“We have many advantages to doing business here, and it is our responsibility to create opportunities for people to assist us with the economic and social diversity of theIslandsby creating a ‘hub’, where businesses outside of Tourism can flourish.
“By supporting new businesses with better connections to groups, organisations and associations, young enterprises stand a better chance of success.
“That is why we have taken the decision to incorporate the Chamber and open up membership to every business owner in the Canaries, free of charge.”
Companies and organisations like Capecan, Proexca and the ZEC have in their hands a real opportunity to capitalise on our stable foundation by increasing the amount of international businesses coming to the Canaries.
Vicente encouraged initiatives like this, and he highlighted the main advantages to future local businesses, increased employment opportunities, development of commercial skills, open access to international markets, Joint Venture opportunities and the internationalisation of Canarian businesses.
When asked why international companies should come to the Canaries, Vicente insisted: “NEVER has there been a better time to trade from the Canaries.
He pointed out:
*Arguably, we have the most advantageous platform inEurope
*Ourlocation is perfect
*We enjoy a first-class health and education system
*Ourclimate is envied
*Tenerife South Airport has more direct international flight connections with Europe thanMadridAirport. This helps to captivate business owners, allowing them to enjoy an opulent lifestyle and low-cost of living.
Vicente added: “If you combine all this with tax incentives such as 7% VAT and corporation tax at just 4%, it is easy to see why the Canaries is attracting SMEs and Corporates from Europe and America.”
Capecan Business Centre is living proof of this trend, with more than 60% of its occupants being international businesses.
This creates more opportunities for local business by belonging to the same business community, as well as more jobs for local residents of the Canaries.
All achievements start with a vision. So when I asked the Camera Director if he could wave a magic wand and fast-forward five years to what life would be like in the Canaries, I wasn’t astonished by the determination and conviction of his answer.
“The Canaries WILL be the logistical stronghold for all trade between Europe America andAfrica,” he stressed. “Our goal is to put an end to the present high unemployment rates.
“Together, we will change the production model, improve education, strengthen our economic structure, build firm foundations for trade in Africa and innovate and create more opportunities in the Canaries like the Factory of Innovation, which will be opened by the end of the year in Adeje.
“We have an abundance of reasons why companies should come to the Canaries, and, by working together, we will raise our profile.”
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