The Business Year

Esteban Acuña

Administrative Manager, Corporación ACS

José Hernán Acuña

General Manager, Corporación ACS

This father-son team is leading Corporación ACS into the future, teaching young people the skills they will need to thrive in the future economy.

What are the main teachings you have learned in ACS that could be an example for other entrepreneurs here?

José Hernán Acuña We have been able to adapt ourselves to what the client needs. In this case, it is our country. We have adjusted to the needs of the education sector. The market has changed, and we have adapted the company to new environments not only in Costa Rica, but also across the world. Also, the company has evolved from a traditional retail company into a real technological partner for our clients, which has led to a complete involvement with our clients so that we can understand in a better way their necessities. The development of strategies, such as support in scientific and technological fairs, allows us to better understand the student, the teacher, and the institution in the development of their ideas

You have a portfolio that serves many sectors of the economy. What were the main factors behind this strategy?

José Hernán Acuña The main factor was not putting all our eggs into the same basket. Today, we are opening legacy stores, though we have also implemented a strong online platform. We want to be in some of the most important malls in Costa Rica, though our focus is that customers can find our products online. We have always had conservative and sustained, but controlled, growth. We have a team that looks at opportunities in the technology sector. We might not be the pioneers, though we want to follow the main trends and adapt as soon as possible. In the end, our diversification is based on providing an integral solution to the client.

You have gone through a rebranding process. In what stage is that process?

Esteban Acuña We have already launched a campaign in the media, for example with ads in newspapers, to let people know we have changed our brands. We have also taken the change internally, growing our team to accommodate the ever-increasing need to have an open line of communication with our community and prospective clients.

What are the objectives of that campaign, and which sectors do you target?

Esteban Acuña We want to keep growing in public education. We are extremely strong in that market, though we want to continue to work with the Costa Rican government. We are constantly presenting bids for different products. We recently presented a proposal to install 30 greenhouses for a number of schools, which were specialized in agriculture. The need is huge still in Costa Rica; thus, we see great potential for growth. Nevertheless, we intend to open up to private companies not necessarily with a focus on education. Private corporations will be a focus for us moving forward. Corporate is a big market and a difficult one; however, we are going for it.

How open are you to finding a foreign partner?

José Hernán Acuña We recognize the potential in teaming up with a foreign partner and would be open to it. Still, we have grown as a family-owned company and established a corporate identity and values we expect to be respected. We have constantly reinvested our profits year after year, and we barely have much debt. We are open to grow with a partner, though it is not something that we have analyzed in detail. It would be great to expand the company as a result of a merger or an acquisition; however, we want to do it properly and leverage on our 30-year track record of success.



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