How would you characterize the evolution of HJ Becdach since its inception?
In 41 years, HJ Becdach has done a very important job for the benefit of the company, families, executives, and country. We have been able to invite in many investors over the years through premium events such as Ecuador Oil & Power, of which we are now holding the 25th edition, and Expominas, which has been held for the past 14-15 years. When Expominas started, the mining industry in Ecuador was only just emerging, and the first edition was done with the participation of just six companies. For the 2021 edition, we are going to have over 300 companies present. As the mining sector in the country grows, so does Expominas, which is also the case for the oil industry. As HJ Becdach, we set ourselves apart because we are a reference point in the energy sector, be it oil, gas, power, renewable sources, or mining. During our big event from November 24-26, 2021, all components of energy are involved. The participating companies work with oil and power, energy and electricity, renewable sources such as wind and solar, and with carbon, green energy, and electric mobility. We will also present all the mining companies and the companies that provide service for the mining and oil industries. We will be occupying an exhibition area of around 10,000 to 11,000sqm, open for three days from 11:00am to 08:00pm. It is already possible to register as an attendee, and we received over 2,000 registration forms in the first day. There are huge expectations for the event, as it symbolizes economic reactivation post pandemic.
What can we expect from Expominas this year?
It is the biggest event held in Quito in almost two years, since the pandemic began. As we are approaching herd immunity levels, thanks to a great effort from the government with vaccination initiatives, we will be able to have an 85% occupancy level at the Metropolitan Convention Centre in Quito. During the program's three days, we will have keynote speeches, technical conferences, panels, and forums. We will host over 160 keynote speakers and hundreds of conferences held in-person in four conference halls, which will simultaneously be transmitted online, making them hybrid conferences that everyone around the world can attend. Our slogan is “Ecuador becomes the world energy center,” be it through mining, oil, gas, or electricity. This is the Ecuador we want to present. We will have over 300 companies visiting from nine countries and visitors from across the world and every province in Ecuador. Our visitors will range from interested professionals and engineers to people related to the oil and mining industry in some capacity. Throughout the three days it will be possible to see the magnificent latest technology, showcasing not only environmental care, but also the social responsibility efforts of participating companies. What does it mean to be socially responsible? It means to take care of the environment, pay taxes, create job positions, make on-time payments of employees' salaries, support families, make sure employees have social security, and create beneficial agreements with and for communities. During the event you can see some of these agreements, such as the Guarinsa model, among others. Some of our visitors will be community members themselves. We even invited high school and university students for a closer look at the various new professions they may wish to enter, and to see what it means to be part of the energy sector. We also have a VIP room, which is going to be located very close to The Business Year stand. I gave this VIP room a very special name; The Nomads. Because when I go around the world visiting fairs and exhibitions, I need a place where I can have a coffee, some water, tea, or wine—a place where I can meet with other businesspeople.
What role do you think the industry will play in the country's economic reactivation?
Mining is the fourth largest sector in terms of exports and became so within a very short period. We have two exporting mining companies: Lundin Gold with its Fruta del Norte gold deposit and ECSA Ecuacorriente with its Mirador copper field. With some of the exports that have reach the USD1,800 million mark, we estimate that in four or five years' time we will be producing from an additional four or five mining fields. By 2025, Ecuador will be able to export between USD4,000 to USD5,000 million per year, or even higher. Ecuador has all the necessary infrastructure to achieve this: we have ports, roads, airports, facilities, and, most importantly, legal certainty. The government ensures this to appeal to investors. Mining investments are long term (around 12 years) and high risk, not just here but worldwide. If you are going to be investing for such a long time, you require legal certainty, access to a trained workforce, and you need to have access to technology that will enable you to take care of the environment, while offering ideal results in mineral discoveries. Ecuador is a blessed country; in every province and every field it has a diversity of minerals. Ecuador has the same level of minerals that Chile and Peru have. There are countries that have many minerals such as Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Colombia, and even Panama. What do companies interested in investing do? They chose the country with the best legal certainty, with easier investment procedures. With this, there will be many more companies coming to invest in Ecuador.
What is the key to resilience within the events industry?
Trust. HJ Becdach represents trust. It is a registered brand that carries my name, and as a result I cannot fail. It is as simple as that. Over the years, we keep on growing and grow more widely known. Everything we do works well, and we always achieve 100% satisfaction rates from our exhibitors. I have learned so much regarding conferences, conventions, and fairs by traveling across the world, which gives me a strong driving force to not only replicate, but do things even better in Ecuador. This is why we are leaders in the industry.