A short stop-over at a European airport saw the inception of ACOCEX 10 years ago.
A group of foreign trade professionals who coincided on a trip sharing the difficulties they had to face to go about their job, in the field of foreign trade. A few were accompanying clients on a business exploration trip, others had just concluded supply arrangements for their companies, others were returning after having set up a company in a Baltic country and a few others after having begun talks to open transport lines from Spain to the Balkans.
The issues they all coincided in common were: “There is nothing in Spain which grouped us together, that identified us, that enabled us to increase contacts with colleagues in the industry and solicit help or advise”. Then, I explained to them the idea that I had planned already for quite some time now; I was one of those professionals who was present at the airport.
ACOCEX was born with the spirit, hope and the need to grow as professionals involved in the internationalisation of Spanish companies. It began in October 2004 with the signing of the Certificate of Incorporation. Its subsequent notification of setting up and registration with the Home Ministry took place in January 2005. ACOCEX took off with few resources on hand, limited time availability and very little funding coming from specific contributions made by the founders.
Natural or legal persons? It was the first reflection and debate that took place among the founders. The conclusion was that only natural persons could become members of ACOCEX. Thus, working as an employed person they would have the support of their industry colleagues and would make the exports of their companies grow. If they were self-employed, there would be a code of ethics put in place, which guarantees professionalism to its potential clients. Only professionals with experience in strategic decision-making, in any foreign trade field, and with specific training in foreign trade may become members of ACOCEX.
The path has not been easy during these years. Our projects, our novel philosophy has been slow to gain acceptance among the business community and Government departments: To inform, educate, raise awareness and act has been and is our leitmotif. ACOCEX continues to provide a response to the question that every company must know how to respond: “Why does a customer abroad need to buy my products or services?”
10 Years after the founding of ACOCEX we are proud of having achieved that Spanish companies export more, having been able to increase the degree of professionalisation of managers of international departments, having promoted foreign trade consultancy in Spain in such a way that we are today positioned at the same level as tax consultancy, HR and accountancy firms. We are fully satisfied, as our services are demanded by large corporations and leading companies in Spain to sign collaboration agreements. We are a benchmark for universities, business schools, training consultancy firms and Government departments who invite us to participate in conferences, meetings, forums, courses, both in Spain and abroad.
The following 10 years are full, as on that first day at Milan airport, with the same hope, same commitment but with more experience. We still have challenges, we still want to improve the competitiveness, professionalism of Spanish companies and make it possible for Spain to overcome the image of a country of shopkeepers to become a country of sellers. Make Spain a hub for intercontinental business and internationalization.
Miguel Ángel Martín Martín
Founder President – ACOCEX