Useful tips to expanding your business abroad: Focus on Galicia region, Spain




Many entrepreneurs have identified international expansion as a critical component of their overall growth strategy. The economic interdependence created by a truly integrated international financial system and the advent of strong regional associations such as the European Union, have also contributed to the need for companies of all sizes, in virtually every type of industry, to be thinking in terms of global business. Business growth strategies need to be built around a global vision where quality, pricing, service, distribution, etc. must be globally competitive but also be custom-tailored to meet local requirements and market conditions.
As worldwide brands become more dominant and domestic resources dwindle, more UK businesses will have to start expanding overseas. But expanding abroad does not only have to be about necessity – it’s also an exciting opportunity for rapid growth and development.
Understandably, many business owners are hesitant, however, the best business owners haven’t achieved success without taking risks. British businesses shouldn’t shy away from broadening their horizons.
Based on the Grant Thornton’s 2010 report, useful tips to expanding your business abroad are:
Market Insights (research the target market)
Make use of government resources (UKTI, British embassies and consulates, European bodies like European Entrepreneurs Networks, or projects like Make it Global)
Find relevant support organisations (in the target market, like Galician Confederation of Employers for the Northwest Spanish market)
Seek professional advice
Set up good aftercare (Think carefully about how you will manage the business after agreements are signed)
Stick to what you are good at (If you aren’t a foreign exchange dealer, talk with your bankers about your overseas investment or trading plans. Foreign exchange volatility is a fact of business life, and a risk that needs careful managing)
Check your tax position (Depending on the jurisdictions, you may find you can’t get tax relief for losses on foreign exchange, or you may be taxed on gains which you won’t have recognized)
Banking facilities (If you are trading overseas, consult your bankers about what facilities might be available)

Galicia is situated in the northwest of Spain, bordering with Portugal to the south. It has a population of nearly 3 million being its capital Santiago de Compostela. A Corunna and Vigo are the main cities. Galician and Spanish are the official languages. The affinity between Galician and Portuguese facilitates communication with the Portuguese speaking community, which means more than 200 million people worldwide.

galicia cropped

Galicia is essentially linked to the sea and occupies a privileged maritime position in the main maritime routes between America, Europe and Asia. It has 2 new outer ports: Ferrol, which is already in service and offers a logistics opportunity for large-scale international container vessel companies, and A Corunna, destined to be a major port and industrial center. Vigo is one of the duty-free zones of the three existing in Spain, and the only one sited in the Northwest of the country. The varied coastline extends for some 1.498 km with 127 ports along its coastline and comprises a unique combination of open seas and sheltered harbors.

The key sectors of the economy are:
Textiles and Fashion (The headquarters of worldwide textile empire Inditex is sited in Galicia. Also, other worldwide known companies are stablished there such as Adolfo Dominguez or Bimba y Lola)
• Biotechnology (a sector with a particular highly qualified workforce)
• Food and Agriculture
• Fishing and Fish Farming with a strong international canning industry,
• The extraction and transformation of no metallic minerals (granite, slate, quartz)
• Energy Sector (wind power. Hydroelectric and thermal stations)
• Forestry and Timber
• Automobile and components (PSA Peugeot Citroën plant located in Vigo is the fourth most productive in Europe by the German consultancy firm World Markets Automotive)
• Logistics (thanks to the strategic maritime position to transport of merchandise)
• Ship Building (including military, civil and pleasure craft building)
• Leisure and Tourism (St James´ way, cultural tourism)

Since 2007 Galicia has been catalogued as Convergence Region within the EU. It provides one of the best opportunities for financial support for investment offered by the EU.

Many national and foreign companies have chosen Galicia as a location for investment. The Galician Institute for Economic Promotion (IGAPE) is the public entity in charge of foreign investment through its department Galicia Invest. It provides individualized attention and follow-up services for each new project, maximum support and funding for investment.

The website offers accurate and complete information about the existing support and incentives. Galicia Invest and the UK office located in Trafalgar Square, (London) will welcome all potential new investors interested in this great location. Contact Montserrat Rodriguez at or by calling to 020 7484 8624.


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