Uruguay boasts eclectic mix of export success stories

Jewels in New York stores, coffee from a mate-drinking country, advertising seen around the world, and even a project for an Atletico Madrid sports academy, are examples of Uruguay's successful exports.
Publication date: 08/11/2019

Jewels in New York stores, coffee from a mate-drinking country, advertising seen around the world, and even a project for an Atletico Madrid sports academy, are examples of Uruguay's successful exports.

Breaking through national borders, finding opportunities worldwide, reaching a level of efficiency that makes a difference everywhere and putting together a much larger market - that is the current adventure experienced by a group of Uruguayan exporters selling their goods and services abroad.

Agnes Lenoble, Marco Picorel, Daniel Alvarez and Facundo del Castillo are personally enjoying the success of taking their products outside their country's borders, though it also means facing big challenges.

For Lenoble, a designer who makes modern jewelry with natural gemstones, one of the biggest challenges is understanding the market she wishes to enter so she can get ready to take it on.

To achieve that, the young designer told Efe that the chief skill needed in her work is being "constantly aware of what's going on" in order to keep up with the fashions.

"No real opportunity is going to come from an office desk. The main skill is to get moving and be constantly working to achieve your goals," Lenoble said.

In agreement with that, Picorel, director of Saint Hnos., a company dedicated to the breakfast-products segment, said that one of the main challenges is "to previously analyze the opportunities," and to be able to do that, getting the right training is fundamental.

Now, three years after going international, Saint Hnos. exports breakfast products to Mexico, El Salvador and Peru, while Bolivia and Paraguay will be next on the list.

One of the products is coffee produced in Uruguay, a country known for drinking mate, and which is welcomed in other coffee-producing countries to Picorel's great pride.

Alvarez, executive producer of Transparente Films, a firm that exports film production services abroad, is also pleased to talk about his work, and notes that "flexibility" and "a capacity for adaptation" are the most important market-winning talents.

Through this company, Uruguay has produced movies and advertising commercials abroad for such countries as Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Poland, among others.

Along the same line, the Ingenium company, a consultancy specializing in structural engineering, also takes its services to Bolivia, Chile, Spain, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.

One of its noteworthy projects was the sports academy of the Atletico Madrid soccer club in Alcala de Henares near the Spanish capital, the company's founder Del Castillo told Efe.

He believes that selling Uruguayan products and services is achieved through a differential that brings "value-added to the client."

Del Castillo said Uruguayans "do everything" and that versatility sets them apart.

But to achieve all that, he added, they have to break down "a ton of personal barriers" and push themselves "out of their comfort zones."

Those who did so have obtained benefits like worldwide brand recognition, serving a much bigger market, being always on the cutting edge with the latest trends, and being able to keep their human capital for a long time, they all agreed.

For that reason, Lenoble, Picorel, Alvarez and Del Castillo, who presented their case histories as part of an export-skills training program offered by Uruguay XXI - an agency promoting investment, exportation and the national image - did not hesitated to assure everyone who wishes to do marketing abroad that in Uruguay "yes you can."

The four also praised the Uruguay XXI program where, among other things, they learned to evaluate the different markets and the competition they would find there, to know the trade deals their country is involved in, and the situation of the different markets and other cultures.

Pablo Pereira, export manager of Uruguay XXI, told Efe that this activity is included in one of the "specific goals" of his department, which, after several workshops, carried out "an integral program of globalization issues."

He also noted that the agency has other ways "to help companies start their exportation process."

In wrapping up his talk, Pereira left a message to firms that do not yet sell abroad but consider doing so, and that is "everything is possible," something that many exporters already understand perfectly well.

For that reason, the country that drinks mate but exports coffee sees how its advertising goes around the world, is proud of a project for Atletico Madrid, and knows that its jewels are worn around the Big Apple. EFE