The Chamber’s main aim is to promote commercial exchange by acting as an important communication link between Spanish and British companies. The events organised by the Chamber enable both member and non-member companies to develop and expand their contact networks from both countries.
Over the course of 2017 the Spanish Chamber of Commerce organised over 30 events with an average of 65 individuals attending each. These events included seminars, conferences, business breakfasts, cocktail evenings, informal parties and corporate dinners.
On the 2nd of February we hosted our first corporate event of 2017. The New Year’s Drinks Reception was held in the exclusive Ironmongers’ Hall where the president of the Chamber, Javier San Basilio, had the opportunity to wish all member companies his best wishes for the New Year. We were honoured to welcome Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, partner of international law firm Dechert LLP and founder and chairman of Inspiring Girls, as our Guest of Honour on this occasion.
In April we also celebrated the Annual Golden Award at the Embassy of Spain in London. Mr. Josep Oliu, Chairman of Banco Sabadell, received the award on behalf the company for the acquisition of TSB the previous year. There were approximately 250 guests present at this event, our largest of the year.
The Annual Patrons Dinner took place the 28th of March at the Spanish Embassy in London and was hosted by the Ambassador of Spain, Mr. Carlos Bastarreche Sagües. In addition to this, on the 14th of June the Annual General Meeting, considered as one of our institution’s most important events of the year, took place at Merchant Taylors’ Hall; one of London’s oldest traditional Livery Halls that remains active. We were delighted to welcome Ms. Marisa Poncela García, Secretary of State for Trade, as our Guest of Honour on this occasion. During the members’ General Meeting, the Executive Committee of the Chamber presented the Financial Statements of 2016 as well as the memorandum of the activities and events organised by the Chamber during this year. The quadrennial Executive Committee Election was also carried out as part of this event, during which 22 members of the Chamber were chosen to join the Committee of the Chamber.
On the evening of the 6th December we held our final corporate event of the year, the highly anticipated VIII Annual Gala Dinner which was held at the iconic Christ Church Spitalfields in the City of London. This black tie event, which saw approximately 230 guests in attendance, was presided by the Ambassador of Spain Carlos Bastarreche Sagües and welcomed António Horta Osório, CEO of Lloyds Banking Group, as its esteemed Guest of Honour.
We additionally organised a wide variety of Seminars over the course of 2017 which were led by individuals who are greatly experienced in their fields. Topics of the sessions included Brexit’s potential implications on immigration, employment and tax, the different ways to detect and investigate corporate fraud and the examination of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Furthermore, 2017 saw four Elevator Pitch events being hosted by our member companies, each being filled to full capacity. The assistance is capped each time to 16 individuals, all representing different companies with a maximum of two being from the same sector. Each participant has two minutes to give a concise presentation summarising their company’s activities, answer any questions about their work and share their business card with the rest of participants; a highly effective way for participants to expand their business networks in a small amount of time.
Finally, there were two Financial Forums that took place in 2017. This events, which are exclusively managed by the Chamber, provide Spanish professionals with the opportunity to come together and exchange ideas about the current financial climate. On these occasions, members shared their opinions with two exceptional guests: Sebastián Albella, President of the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (the Spanish Regulatory Authority for the Securities Market) and Román Escolano, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank.
With respect to less formal events, our series of internal parties organised in collaboration with our patron Mahou proved to be a great success, each hosting an average of 90 attendees from over 50 companies. These events offered our members the opportunity to relax and expand their contact network over an after work drink. The events took place at various locations and we would like to thank Ibérica and Trison (patrons of the Chamber) along with Hispania and Dry Martini (members of the Chamber) for hosting the parties.
We would also like to mention the noteworthy activities which the Chamber has been either directly or indirectly involved with. In June, with the aim of promoting the Spanish culture the Chamber organised a Spanish Tapas Tour, a new gastronomic event which brought the very best flavours of Spanish cuisine to London. Ten of the city’s best Spanish restaurants offered a tapa and a drink at a fixed price, with dishes that represented various regions of Spain. The event was a great success with more than 350 tapas being sold.
With regards to events developed in collaboration with the Council of Foreign Chambers, the most prominent was the International Wine Tasting which took place on the 18th September at Middle Temple Hall in the City of London. Almost 300 guests came together to broaden their international business networks with peers from other Chambers while sampling a delicious array of wines, beers and spirits from around the world.
Regarding our commercial activities, last year the Spanish Chamber conducted nine Commercial Agendas within five different sectors including telecommunications, financial services and food and beverage suppliers. This service forms part of the Business Promotion activities carried out by the Chamber and provides a commercial representation for contracting companies, which are either Spanish businesses wishing to sell their products in the UK or British companies wishing to invest in and/or export to Spain.
The Spanish Chamber also successfully realised two Reverse Trade Missions in the wine sector during 2017. The purpose of this activity was to increase the importation and exportation of local products. Furthermore, it enables contracting companies to showcase the design and manufacturing of their goods and services which could be traded with potential clients to support them in reaching their exportation aims. The reverse trade missions target current and near-term business opportunities, creating immediate results and export successes for Spanish businesses.
In summary, 2017 was another successful year for the Chamber which both embraced and promoted the vital business relationships between Spain and the UK. We would like to warmly thank our members, guests and sponsors for supporting our work at the various events we held and we hope that they found them as profitable as we did.