THE RSM ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD – VINCENTE BERBEGAL PEREZ - ACTIU – SPAIN
Vicente Berbegal Pérez is the President and Founder of Actiu Group, a company specializing in designing and producing innovative and technologically advanced furniture for working spaces. Under his leadership, the company has grown to have a presence in over 70 countries, and has delivered more than 6000 tailor-made projects.
1. What does it mean to you to win the European Business Award?
I feel extremely lucky and, if anything, I feel excited to continue to build upon this project that I started 50 years ago. This is the first time that a Spanish entrepreneur has received this European recognition of their professional journey. For Actiu, the award represents an opportunity to be acknowledged in Europe and across the world. For it to be acknowledged that there are people that innovate and that have the ability to be on the front line in our territory. And, of course, it is also a recognition of Marca España.
2. Has it changed anything for your business - will it change anything in the future?
This prize, as I was saying, has been an extremely important driving force for us in terms of winning trust in our project, yet from now on it also represents a huge responsibility to prove to all of the other companies that have competed that we really are worthy of this award. From now on, we are going to demand more of ourselves in terms of greater commitment, greater innovation in our proposals and exceptional treatment of all of the individuals that are involved with Actiu, whether these are workers, clients, consultants or the general public.
3. What did you gain from going through the Awards process? For example, did writing the application focus you on your business strategy?
It’s true that undertaking this exercise in introspection on our business strategy has forced us to stop for a moment (sometimes you get so involved in day-to-day tasks that this is impossible) and create a comprehensive overview of where we are, and where we would like to be. We are very clear about our path and we know where we want to go, but participating in this process and getting to know the other participating companies has helped us to put the strength of our brand on the European map.
4. Did the networking opportunities during the completion allow you make any new relationships/contacts/partnerships or clients?
Yes, and this has been even more true as we have progressed through the phases of the competition. It created a special atmosphere among all the companies: an atmosphere of camaraderie and generosity instead of competitiveness. We have created positive relations throughout the entire process which will surely lead to good business opportunities for all of the finalists.
5. Would you recommend other businesses in Europe to apply? If yes why?
I one hundred percent recommend this, thanks to your impeccable organisation and the monitoring and support throughout the entire process, in addition to the visibility and brand positioning which this competition implies for all of the European businesses that have participated, as well as the opportunities to generate business. The truth is that we have only encountered positives, so we would encourage all companies to participate.
6. What top tips would you give to a new company regarding:
• the entry form: be clear about your values, how you demonstrate these, how you express them and how they are reflected in the business. It is not enough to list the things that you do well: you have to be able to prove these through action and examples.
• the video: confidence and spontaneity. It is important that the jury and the people voting for you sense your confidence in what you do and in your business, and also that they see that what you are showing them is genuine and not simply staged to create a good video.
• the public vote: it is important to make use of all of the digital sharing platforms available: email, social networks and so on. You need to ring round all of your contacts and acquaintances to ask for their vote, and it's important to organise strong databases and to carry out effective audience segmentation so that this process is swift and effective.
7. Why do you think the European Business Awards are important?
In our view, their relevance is based on the prestige and brand visibility that are projected both by the organisation and by the brands which compete. Each country has its own recognitions for companies, entrepreneurs, innovation and so on, but in a globalised world like the one we live in now, in which it is necessary to have a presence in international markets in order to grow, it is extremely important to have a prize such as the European Business Awards which transcends national borders and celebrates businesses and entrepreneurs under the pan-European umbrella.
8. What is the key to your success?
Staying true to myself and to my own values, which are part of the Actiu DNA. Always being eager to learn, to innovate and to take risks, with my intention being that my hard work and energy will be channelled into constructing a better society, and a better life for individuals.
9. What is the greatest lesson you have learnt in business?
Always believe in yourself and in your own abilities. Always trust in what you can achieve. That each crisis is an opportunity: learn from your mistakes and go back and try again. And, above all, I have learnt the importance of staying humble. You can’t achieve success on your own: it is a journey that you share with many other people, who believe in the project they are working on and who work hard alongside you. It is for that reason that this prize is so important to Actiu: because we don't see it as a recognition of just one person, but rather as a recognition of each and every person who has made it possible for us to come this far.