The Business Year

Maser Eva Belinchon

SPAIN - Industry

Eva Maria Belinchon

CEO, Maser Group

Bio

Eva Maria Belinchon is a committed business leader and CEO of MASER GROUP, where she has worked for over thirty years. Her leadership has driven the company’s international expansion and digitalization. She speaks four languages, aiding international negotiations, and has created three product brands in the stone industry. Eva holds degrees from Schiller International University, IE Business School, and Harvard University. She mentors young female and entrepreneurs has received the ASEME Business Woman of the Year 2021 Award for her contributions to business. She serves on several executive boards and promotes talent development.

"There is a need for government to protect family businesses that have been built and nurtured over many years."
TBY talks to Eva Belinchon, CEO of Maser Group, about the group’s achievements and successes, expansion to new markets, and the advantages of investing in Spain.
What have been the key milestones and achievements of the group in Spain over the years and what are the different sectors you operate in?

One of our key achievements over the years has been maintaining the quality of our products and services. My father, who founded one of our companies in 1976, always emphasizes that a customer may come once, but if we do not provide good service and high quality, they will not return. This principle is central to our approach: quality and service are always at the forefront when we interact with our clients. Our primary focus is the industrial sector. Around the year 2000, we ventured into the hospitality. Despite having no prior experience, we decided to enter that market. It was a challenging start, but it has since become a successful and important sector for us. In addition to our work in hospitality, we specialize in selling machines, tools, utensils, and equipment for the stone and ceramic industries. Building on this foundation, we decided to enter the service market about five years ago. Recognizing that some customers prefer renting over buying, especially for short-term use, we established a company to rent equipment. This approach allows us to cater to different customer needs, whether they prefer to buy or rent.
We are also active in the construction industry, where many of our main clients and partners operate. We supply machines for producing porcelain and stone, aligning closely with our industrial expertise. This led us to create another company to sell these products, maintaining strong relationships with our clients, who often double as our suppliers. This familiarity fosters trust and reliability in our business dealings. Our construction-related company is experiencing significant growth, particularly with projects in Latin America, including hotel construction and residential developments. This expansion highlights the success of our strategic diversification and the strength of our client relationships.

Which international markets are you currently focusing on?

We decided to expand to France because it is close to us, having been established in Spain and Portugal for many years; however, entering the French market has been challenging. To navigate these difficulties, we partnered with a local French company and are striving for success there. Given the challenges in France, we turned our attention to the US. The sheer size of the market was a major factor, with around 350 million people compared to the 11 million in our home region. This offers tremendous potential, especially for our B2C products. Our entry into the US market began almost serendipitously during a vacation in Miami. Instead of just relaxing, we visited potential clients, introducing ourselves and our 46-year-old business from Spain. To our surprise and delight, the reception was extremely positive. They were willing to listen to us, which is something we found important. This open-mindedness encouraged us to open a branch there, and we are now focused on growing that presence. The US market’s receptiveness to new ideas is refreshing compared to Spain. We also decided to expand into Latin America, thinking it would be easier due to the shared Spanish language. Still, we quickly learned that regional differences in language and terminology can be significant. Despite these challenges, the shared Latin spirit and similar values, such as a strong emphasis on family and continuity of family businesses, have been advantageous. We aim to continue and grow our business rather than create it just to sell, which aligns with the values in Latin American markets.

What role do family businesses play in promoting Marca Espana?

As a family business with many years in the industry, we aim to leverage our expertise internationally, particularly in Latin America and the US. Our experience in the stone and porcelain industries, which are significant markets in Spain and Italy, gives us a strong foundation. The innovations and developments we have achieved here in Spain, a major market, are what we aim to export. When we expand abroad, one of our key strengths is our Spanish origin. The reputation and values associated with being a Spanish company serve as a valuable business card. Our established success and know-how in Spain are assets we proudly bring to new markets.

What would you say to an international investor that is looking to invest in the Spanish market?

The Spanish market is a good market, but some changes are necessary. I have heard that research and development are progressing, especially among family companies. Paying taxes is important, as it supports public infrastructure, but excessive taxation can hinder business growth and lead to failure. High taxes might drive family businesses to relocate to other countries. There is a need for government to protect family businesses that have been built and nurtured over many years. Unlike large corporations, family businesses are deeply personal. We know every employee, understand the market intricately, and are committed to long-term growth. It is crucial for governments to recognize these differences and provide the necessary support to ensure these businesses thrive and continue their legacy.

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