euWater4i-SD trade mission to Bolivia: report and testimonials from SMEs

Submitted by Louise Gubanski on 22 June 2023


The euWater4i-SD trade mission to Bolivia, which took place from May 29 to June 1, 2023, was a success!

The project aims to help European SMEs internationalize in Latin America and East Africa. Bolivia is one of the target countries.

euWater4i-SD began in September 2021, and over the course of a year several analyses were carried out, which formed the basis of the consortium's joint internationalization strategy. In a second phase, this trade mission was organized to support our SMEs in developing their activities on the Latin American market. The mission was structured to help them access meetings with high-level representatives and decision-makers, and participate in fruitful B2B meetings.

During the mission to La Paz, , CREA Hydro&Energy (Czech partner), and France Water Team (French partner) accompanied 4 SMEs (two from France and two from the Czech Republic) and provided them with financial support of €1,500/SME to cover (part of) their travel and accommodation costs.

The 4 European SMEs – ABO Valve (Cz) ; Condorchem Envitch (Fr) ; Fonto de Vivo (Fr) and Strojirny Brno (Cz) – took part in 4 high-level meetings with :

- The Economic Department of the French Embassy in Bolivia

- The World Bank

- Fonplata

- and the Inter-American Development Bank.

All were also invited to a networking cocktail event at the Residence of France in Bolivia, in the presence of H.E. Hélène Roos, Ambassador of France to Bolivia, on the evening of Monday May 29.

During the mission, SMEs also had the opportunity to take part in two customized B2B events, organized jointly with the Bolivian National Chamber of Commerce and the Bolivian National Chamber of Industries, to meet potential business partners.

The first event, in partnership with the National Chamber of Commerce, brought together 18 Bolivian participants, including representatives of the country's largest public and private companies in the water sector, as well as representatives of local authorities and utilities. The second, in partnership with the National Chamber of Industries, welcomed 22 Bolivian participants, representing major local industries, consulting services, laboratories and pharmaceutical industries, as well as some representatives of local authorities and public services.

The success of this mission is directly attested to by our SMEs:

"Thanks to euWater4i-SD - trade mission La Paz (Bolivia) that allowed us to share in different contexts the business opportunities according to the needs expressed by the different participants.

Through this experience we were able to demonstrate the need and interest of several actors, including the CAF and the IDB that expressed the opportunity to include our technologies in future projects and others in execution, as well as identify business partners as consultants with baseline information for the formulation of future projects.

In conclusion, this experience leaves us very satisfied with the scope of the agenda organized by euWater4i-SD, the French Embassy in Bolivia and Bussines France, which becomes a challenge to do business in Bolivia for now and in the future throughout this region.

At the moment we are discussing alliances with a French company that participated in the mission to evaluate strategies that allow us to optimize financial, technical and commercial resources in order to develop a joint representation and, in the future, the possibility of opening a subsidiary.

Cesar ARANDA | Latin America Manager for Fonto de Vivo

The euWater4i-SD partners are particularly grateful for the support they have received from the French Embassy and Business France in this mission. Our thanks also go to our SMEs for their involvement.

The next step is to continue implementing concrete actions aimed at SMEs.

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