IT’S WHO YOU KNOW

Panama 2017 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Luisa E. Montiel de Cuadros, Managing Partner of Spatium Group, on its regional expansion plans, maintaining a leading position in the market, and upcoming opportunities.

 Luisa E. Montiel de Cuadros
BIOGRAPHY
Luisa E. Montiel de Cuadros was born in Venezuela and is a graduate of UNIMET Metropolitan University in Caracas. She is currently a Managing Partner of Spatium Group.

Can you brief us on Spatium's business?

Spatium is a business center with two locations in Panama City. We provide comfortable spaces to work in, with all the furniture and also with all services included, such as receptionist, cleaning, drinks, internet, and meeting rooms, among others. We also have virtual offices, which is the current trend in Panama. With a virtual office, we provide clients with support services. For example, a client in Italy does not need a 24-hour office here, and we thus provide a commercial address and attend to their phone calls.

What are your expansion plans in Panama and the region?

Currently, our two locations in Panama are full. We are doing extremely well in Panama. Large companies today seek to reduce costs wherever possible and by hiring us and cutting down on a large office with six or seven spaces, they can save about 60% with Spatium that they can spend on marketing and other things. In May 2016, we opened our second location in Obarrio, Panama. Here, we have the capacity to have 15 companies or enterprise offices as well as a conference room with the capacity for 30 people. In 2017, we will open our third and fourth locations in Bogotá. The third will be located in an area north of Bogotá, in Chico, while the fourth location will be located in Santa Barbara in Bogotá. We expect these locations to have double of the space of our current ones. Bogotá is a new market for us and we have been looking into this the entire year. It will be interesting for us and we want to expand in South America first, and Colombia will be our second country. My brother, Gabriel Montiel, and I want to franchise this business model in two years from now; we are committed to this project and are currently working on that. By that time, we will have six or seven locations around South America.

How do you shape your competitive advantages to maintain a leading position in the local market?

The greatest value we provide companies is networking opportunities. We provide our clients the spaces to learn and get to know and put into practice making useful professional relations. We offer training spaces, bringing in people recognized in specific areas to our Spatium community for free. For example, we recently had Carlos Rosales from Neurosales, an international sales specialist from Venezuela who came and provided free training to our entire Spatium community. We are always on the lookout for the best benefits for our Spatium community.

What is the composition of Spatium's portfolio?

Our most typical clients are SMEs. They are not yet a full corporation but have three or four employees. They seek to cut costs and are the ones that can benefit the most from our model as they seek to save money; we can give them benefits that no one else can. The SME segment is the one most interested in networking. For example, we typically announce the entry of a new Spatium client through email marketing; we promote their business to the entire community. In South America, these are our most popular clients. In addition, large companies are also reducing their costs and see Spatium as the best way to do so. We currently have two international companies from the US in our offices; everyone wants to save on operating costs.

Where do you see increasing opportunity for your business to be replicated?

I believe Bogotá has a large market and we expect to have five or six locations there. We also look at countries like Chile and Mexico. Those are the countries that are on our minds for 2019. In 2017, we want to consolidate the market as the best business center providing the most benefits to the SME community.