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Digitalisation and sustainability, the main challenges for the reactivation of companies after the Covid-19 crisis

This was stated by Adela Sánchez, director of European projects at CEOE Cantabria and project manager of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), during the webinar “In times of pandemic, the importance of networking”, organized by Eurochile Business Foundation together with the Confederación de Empresarios of Cantabria, Spain.

Publicado el 17/07/2020

At a time when Europe begins to recover after the hardest stage of confinement due to the Covid-19, companies are resuming their activities facing a different scenario, in which digitalisation and sustainability appear today as the main challenges and action lines.

This was stated by Adela Sánchez, Spanish national, director of European projects at CEOE Cantabria and project manager of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), during the webinar “In times of pandemic, the importance of networking” held on July 14, organized by Eurochile Business Foundation together with the Confederación de Empresarios of Cantabria, Spain.

The objective of the seminar was to learn about the work that Europe is doing in the recovering of its companies, as well as to highlight the importance that associativity will have in this, mainly through EEN; a network with 600 partners in 60 countries and with 4,000 experts, supported by the European Commission, and of which Eurochile is the exclusive representative in our country. Through the EEN, support to the SMEs is provided in a number of aspects, which go from relations with European counterparts to the generation of collaboration agreements with them; information is also provided on the different virtual networking events that are organized by other European partners in the network and which are ongoing today.

“In this scenario of uncertainty that we are experiencing today, it is extremely important to identify new ways of working with networks and platforms, with the aim of generating spaces for cooperation, as well as developing new relationships with national and international counterparts, in this case, Europeans”, said Nina Morales, director of Eurochile’s Business Cooperation and Institutional Affairs Area.

This is even more important today, Adela Sánchez said, because the virus changed all the scenarios that were projected at the beginning of the year. And according to what was gathered at a business summit for the reconstruction carried out in Spain in June, it stated, “what everyone has agreed on is that the crisis caused by Covid has revealed that corporate social responsibility is one of the engines in order to be more competitive. Entrepreneurs are going to be the ones to lead the reconstruction, and we also consider that business association is very important”.

Today, many companies and entrepreneurs have demonstrated great ability to “push forward,” Sánchez expressed, and many have reconverted their production processes to support the health crisis. And in this massive movement in defense of corporate social responsibility, she added, it is clear that the objective of companies is to earn money, “but in an ethical way. Companies that have ethical values, that are consistent and responsible, have been shown to be much more successful in the long term”.

How to face this new scenario? According to Sánchez, today the two main lines for recovery in Europe are focused on digitalisation, based on what happened with remote work; and sustainability, with the European Green Deal as the axis of the recovery.

“The situation we are in is how we are going to respond to an economy in which there is talk of an average drop in world GDP of 10%. Therefore, small and large entrepreneurs have to adapt, adapt products and services. We are very clear that we have to bet on digitalisation, we believe that remote work has come and will remain in companies”, she assured.

And in the face of the global and systemic crisis, to which we are all exposed, “we have the opportunity to go furthermore, to rethink our companies and how we can work to take a step in the area of ​​responsibility and sustainability,” she added. And in that sense, said Adela Sánchez, “for us it has been very clear that collaboration, networking and joint action are essential. We believe that the union is strength, and we have been working by business sectors and perhaps it is time to think strategically”.

She stated that today it is clear that we live in an absolutely globalized economy, with trade conditions that increasingly put pressure on companies for competitiveness. “This context has given rise to the renewed importance of companies’ actions, always in coordination with others, and with other agents, in order to promote innovation, technological development and business strategy. It has been shown that the competitiveness of any company, regardless of its size, is linked to the relationships it has with other companies, organizations and networks in the environment, which is the case of Eurochile”.

“The associations,” Adela Sánchez added, “the business networks and the connection to these networks have an impressive force. Eurochile is our EEN partner in Chile, and our strength is that we are unique connectors. The truth is that only through the union of many voices we can make ourselves heard and exercise influence, and provoke change. ” For this reason, I invite companies of any sector and size to connect with this network through Eurochile.

“We think the crisis is going to happen, in a year and a half or two, and within that time we will be trying to grow, and having a medium-term strategy there will be important; we think that it may be time to rethink the strategy and the business models of our companies. We are going to get out of this, and we have to think now how to do it in order to get stronger”, she concluded.

To connect with the EEN network in Chile, said Manuela Caruz, director of Eurochile Networks, simply approach Eurochile or send an email. The network services, she explained, have no cost unless specific products are required.

“The idea is to make more specific conversations, perhaps by sectors or by common interests, a kind of mentoring and for Adela to help us on the European side to find companies that have solved some issues, that are already working or have overcome some conflicts and that this experience can work for Chilean companies. We invite you to register so that we can identify which are the most suitable European companies to transmit these experiences”, closed Manuela Caruz.