“The entrepreneur is not that guy who takes advantage of the situation because his friends give him a set of helps, but that who creates something for the welfare and who goes ahead in spite of the obstacles”.
Who was going to tell Raimundo Beascoechea (Bermeo, 1938) when he arrived in Mallorca, in the sixties, incidentally to join a few months in the army, he would stay forever.
After getting his graduation in the Merchant Marine School of Bilbao, he began his career as Chief Engineer in American oil tankers, shipping around the world.
But Raimundo finally settled in Mallorca, where he met his wife. Combining both traveling and family was not an easy task, that’s why he chose to leave his profession.
As a good Basque, strong and strict, he decided to reinvent himself to start a new career in the plastic world. From there, he built what is now known as “Inmaplast” (Industria Mallorquina de Plásticos). According to Raimundo, “I knew that from that moment I had to ‘learn-to-learn’, and begin to form myself in new segments like financial and commercial management, human resources and performing a Master in Business Management”.
Raimundo knew he had to effort a lot to open his mind and to pay attention to a new sector that was emerging in front of him; as he was going ahead, he realized that “as much as I know, I know less than I thought”.
Even if it seems hard to believe, the plastic was a very fashionable material in those times that was going to change the consumers’ habits. The plastic allowed to preserve the food, to decrease transporting costs and thus to cheap the final price and to low the energetic costs of the transport.
Raimundo began to manage and to manufacture the polyethylene film for two companies of the island that were making plastic bags. But two years later, he explains that “we saw ourselves with the need of amplifying the business by printing and producing our own bags”. So it emerged one of our duties, from which we feel really proud of, and that is to supply packages and containers to all the industry, hotels & resorts, butcher’s shops and other businesses in the Balearic Islands”.
It may seem hard to accept but, if we have a look around, we will realize that we are surrounded by plastic everywhere. However, fifty years ago, as he says, it was completely new, because the polyethylene was emerging. “My basic formation was more technical than anything else and under a business perspective I didn’t have any experience. As a result of creating Inmaplast, I had to work hard. First of all, knowing the transformation process, the different plastic products that there were, which one was the ideal and at the same time to see what we could do with it. At the end, we chose the polyethylene film and thus we got started”.
“As with every entrepreneur who begins, there are many hours behind it. However, I was relaxed because if I wouldn’t achieve the company goals I could go back to my old job because they were still calling for me”.
Raimundo always showed a good disposition to innovate and to acquire new knowledge.
Raimundo and other stakeholders were involved in other projects such as the creation of R-Mutt (1995), AEBSA (1997) and Toby & Minino (1998). R-Mutt was a footwear company and AEBSA was dedicated to the installation of solar panels. Toby & Minino was a Division of Inmaplast. All these three companies broke in the way, therefore, the most relevant thing is what he and the rest of the stakeholders learned from that. Due to that, Inmaplast is now fifty years old.
He confesses that the crisis lived in the last years, “has taught us to go through hard moments, with changes in the market besides of surviving to a hard campaign against plastic by the big surfaces”.
“The entrepreneur is not that guy who takes advantage of the situation because his friends give him a set of helps, is that who creates something for the welfare and who goes ahead in spite of the obstacles”.
Raimundo confirms that in the last years, “the small and middle entrepreneur has used his own earnings to save the company from going bankruptcy. We have lost money; in that way, many companies saved themselves from closing and have been able to keep the job positions”.
What is most relevant for him is that “we have created local wealthness, which means that, it belongs to this Island, which doesn’t occur with the big surfaces. 90% of the employed people in this country belong to the small and middle companies”.
Raimundo retired himself fifteen years ago and left his place to his daughter Ines.
“I have given very little advices to my daughters, maybe some suggestion. I learnt a lot with the incorporation of them to the family business; I was from the old school. In spite of my background, they provided with new objectives. Thanks to them, the company renewed itself and rose its product line to other materials more demanded nowadays like for example: paper, etc. That’s why it was very positive”.
Raimundo also relates that “there are always opportunities that we must look for. Either in Spain 50 years ago as in the actual one there are chances to start a business. Before, it was probably easier to become an entrepreneur than now, there were more sectors and bigger chances for everyone, although today there are options too, what is crucial to start a business is the energy to keep going ahead in spite of possible failures”.
However, under his point of view, one of the biggest handicaps that most of the young people are facing is the existing competition, “it’s much bigger than in our times”.
If there is something that the new generations lack of, that is “the parents have been too weak in their children’s education. We wanted to give them everything that we didn’t own in our childhood and because of that they have grown in an environment where they can have everything they want and without any effort at all”.
He neither agrees with the excess of new technology to the reach of the children and teenagers, “of coures it’s something positive but we are getting till one point in which they will shortly not be able to talk, there will be a lack of direct communication”.
Interview published in “Empresarios con Valor”
©Mª José Merino