The debate on the challenge of business enterprise dimension

Within the annual congress organised by the UPV (University of the Basque Country) as part of its Summer Course programme, Elkargi has brought together managers from BBVA, Confebask, Velatia, CIE

Automotive, Mecalbe and Urkiola Fabricaciones, amongst others.
In the words of Eduardo Aréchaga, Confebask’s Managing Director, “it’s a fact that economy productivity is directly connected to the average size of its businesses.” Therefore, and in the opinion of the employee organisations in the Basque Country, “on the contrary to other leading EU economies such as the German economy, excessive automation amongst our businesses makes the insufficient business size one of our biggest challenges. This is particularly true amongst industrial companies.”

Therefore, based on BBVA Research figures, Joseba Barandiaran, BBVA’s Regional Economist for northern Spain, has indicated that, on the basis that “the Spanish economy needs to increase its GDP export percentage” in order to continue to be competitive internationally, “size is the indicator with the greatest impact on a company’s ability to export.” According to Barandiaran, “we need to achieve greater intensive margin, greater export rates per company, increased extensive margin and a greater number of exporting companies.”

Por su parte, el Presidente de Elkargi, Josu Sánchez, ha asegurado que “es muy difícil competir en un mercado global, cuando más del 98% del tejido productivo del País, está conformado por pymes de menos de 50 empleados”. De ahí, la importancia que adquieren las empresas que hacen efecto tractor, tanto en la pyme como en la micropyme. Es el caso de Velatia, cuyo Presidente, Javier Ormazabal, a la hora de explicar el proceso que culminó en la creación del Grupo, marcaba como claves “la estrategia, el compromiso, el proceso y el liderazgo de las personas”.

“Proyectos con liderazgo” se ha anticipado a decir el Consejero Ejecutivo de CIE Automotive, Fermín del Rio. En su opinión, “en el ADN de cualquier proyecto empresarial está el reto de crecer”. Por eso, ha concluido diciendo que para que los centros de decisión estén en el País Vasco, también es importante que “unas cuantas empresas sean grandes”.


The managers of two industrial SMEs, Javier Alcoba (Managing Director of the Mecalbe Group) and Eduardo Cobo (Director of Urkiola Fabricaciones) also shared their practical experience with the almost 100 companies present at the event and indicated that “as well as sharing, it’s also equally important to get over our own fears.”

To conclude and round off all the presentations, Esteban Heredia, General Manager of Elkargi Consultants, noted that “growing is not an option nowadays. The market demands it.” Although “size is not a goal in itself but a means for SMEs to continue being competitive.”

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