11.11.19 • Last Monday 28th October, the XXVIII edition of “La Noche de la Empresa Vasca” was held at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, where SEW- EURODRIVE Spain received the Euskal Makila Prize (Basque honor stick) in recognition of its contribution to the industrial, economic and social fabric of the Basque Country.

This emblematic stick is given every year to non-Basque companies that bet on the Basque country from abroad. Our Managing Director Juan Carlos Fernández Dacal, who received the award from the Minister of Economic Development and Infrastructures of the Basque Government, Arantza Tapia, shared the award with all the company's employees and thanked the jury for recognizing our dedication and contribution to the society in general and to the industry in particular.

The Basque Company Night -the most popular event among entrepreneurs and executives in the Basque Country- is organized every year by the Fundación Empresa Vasca y Sociedad, in partnership with the industrial journal EMPRESA XXI and is sponsored by the banking entity Kutxabank in collaboration with the companies Dinof and Inbisa.

Three other distinctions were also given at this event: Best Basque Entrepreneur 2018 -which this year has awarded the business career of José Ramón Fernández de Barrena Bermejo, General Manager of the Uvesco S.A. distribution group-; the Made in Euskadi Award, conferred to Ingeteam Power Technology -a world reference in technologies applied to renewable energies, electromobility and distribution networks-; and the Business Innovation Award, awarded on this occasion to Sidenor, a Biscay an international market leader specialized in the manufacture of special steels.

The event began with the presentation of Mr. Francisco Javier García Lurueña, CEO of Kutxabank, who introduced five ideas that were repeated intermittently in the different speeches of the evening: innovation, digitalization, artificial intelligence, climate change and human capital.

For their part, all the awardees made clear in their interventions the need to be disruptive, to innovate and surprise by swimming against the current, as a common element to achieve success. Thus, it is not surprising that all the prize- winners coincide in their courage and bravery when it comes to betting on new business solutions at a time when the vast majority recommended prudence and caution.

During the speeches, attention was also called on the economic slowdown that we are experiencing, despite which we must continue investing in human capital, investment in new lines of business and R+D+i. In SEW- EURODRIVE Spain, very aware of this, we are increasing our staff at the same time that we are carrying out the complete renovation of our facilities in Zamudio, which will be followed by an important expansion project in Madrid with a new assembly plant that will allow us to get closer if possible, to our Customers nationwide. At the same time, we work daily from our German headquarters in research and development to innovate with new products and efficient solutions that provide Service and satisfy the individual needs of our Customers, the two fundamental pillars that guide our steps.

It is known as euskal makila the stick of the Basque people, which in its origins served as a hunting and defense weapon, measuring tool and stick to assist in walking. This medlar wood pole, with an ox horn knob and stainless steel stock, has now become one of the symbols of the Basque country.

It is an honor for us to have received this award and to be able to share it with all those who have made it possible: Employees, Customers and Suppliers, because in the end it is always the people, not the robots or the cutting- edge technology, who make the difference.

This was demonstrated at the end of the event, when a recorded audition of "Agur Jaunak" was scheduled, but could not be reproduced due to a last-minute technical failure. It was then that the veterans of the audience threw themselves into an improvised, a capella and perfectly intoned Agur Jaunak, which gave everyone present goose bumps. It is no coincidence that even Bruce Springsteen is in love with this emotive traditional Basque song.

The event concluded with a cocktail in the atrium of the museum in a much more ludic and relaxed atmosphere in which congratulations and hugs to the winners abounded, together with the general satisfaction for having participated in such an special night, so entrepreneurial and so Basque.