At esave, perhaps like Scots in general throughout history, we’ve always had an outward looking view on where our business comes from. We’re not arrogant, but we believe in what we are doing and the quality of our service and people, and so have a view that we can provide services to anyone that is interested, no matter where they are based. In the past we’ve done work in Norway, and in West Africa, so when the opportunity arose via the UK Government’s Exporting is Great website to link up with a Peruvian business looking to promote UK Carbon Reduction services, we thought, “why not esave”, and responded. Fast forward to February 2018 and there we were in Lima, speaking to our first audience of businesses interested in saving money and carbon reduction.
Dealing with the staff at the UK Embassy in Lima has been fantastic, they have all been extremely helpful and supportive, from those in the DIT team looking to support a British business looking to establish a new market, to those administering the project and hosting us during our visit. I can’t thank them enough. Yes, there’s beaurocracy dealing with Govt – as might be expected – but the taxpayers money has to be spent wisely and accounted for properly and this is no more than I would have expected as a UK taxpayer!
We’d already established a link with local partners to help promote our services, and they took on a role to promote the seminars that we ran, and in addition, the UK Embassy introduced us to the British Peruvian Chamber of Commerce and we decided to also utilise their expertise in event management and promotion. The team there were also fantastic.
A significant point worth making is that we found all the Peruvian people we came into contact with to be extremely polite and friendly. The atmosphere at our seminars was never one of suspicion or hostility towards us as “strangers from Europe telling them what to do”, but instead was one of openness, enthusiasm for what we were saying, appreciation for the effort we had made to find out about their situation, whilst of course understanding that we couldn’t know the finer detail of Peruvian politics or policy.
It was a really hectic week. It’s a pretty long journey from the North of Scotland (3 flights, about 20 hours) and after a few hours rest, we were straight into it, meeting our partner for the first time (who kindly picked us up from the airport very early in the morning!) to go over business, meeting all the Embassy and Chamber of Commerce team for pre-seminar checks (and handover of some Scottish goodies!), and then into the seminars. More meetings (and fantastic food) with business contacts and potential customers, a couple of hours to wander around a bit, and delivering the seminar on 2 further occasions to a new audience each time, and it was fantastic to see standing room only at each one. The promotions had went really well. Part of the project was also co-hosting with the Embassy a cocktail evening reception for those who attended the seminars and their contacts, giving everyone a more relaxed opportunity to get to know each other better and of course discuss possible opportunities to work together (and give me the chance to practice my Spanish!). The most important aspect of this though was to give us the chance to sample the local cocktail, of which the locals are justifiably proud – a Pisco Sour! Delicious (we had to try a couple just to make sure we liked them..). A point worth making is that any visitor would be spoiled for food. They are very proud of the quality of their cuisine and enjoy a growing reputation, rightly so in my opinion!
Like any course or seminar, we asked our participants to complete the obligatory feedback form for us, and these were gathered up at the end of each day. Our friends at the Chamber of Commerce then collated the results from across the 3 days and presented the report to us, and suffice to say we were absolutely delighted with the feedback:
- General opinion of the event – 4.5 out of 5
- Opinion of the presentations – 4.6 out of 5
- Would you recommend to a colleague? 4.75 out of 5 (1=definitely not, 5=definitely yes)
In addition, we received many positive comments that will allow us to take on board for future, similar events.
Crucially of course, one of the main objectives was to use the seminars to try and promote esave services – via our partner in Peru – to the audience, and I’m pleased to say that we’re working on a number of proposals at this moment. Fingers crossed!
It would have been great to spend more time there, and see more of Lima and Peru. Maybe next time…