Already as a little girl Margarita Dahlberg Coll was enthusiastic about the world of shipping. She loved to repair things with special skill. As she grew older, she followed the advice of her father and studied electronics. At first she was not to be allowed to study because she was a woman. But she achieved excellent results in the subjects required, such as mathematics and physics.
During her five – year studies (from 1974 to 1979), the young woman had to assert herself in a men ‘s domain – almost all fellows were men – and to convince her professors that she was not there to waste her time but to learn and get her diploma. “My studies were very complex, the vocational training was very good at the time, and we had a variety of subjects related to this formation. Unfortunately, in recent years vocational training has lost most of its value.”
Although her father always supported her, he also allowed her to gain her own experience and make mistakes, because: “My father applied a simple philosophy to me. He did not give me the fishes, but he taught me how to fish. So I was prepared to do it all by myself.”
Margarita founded B & G in 1980 after a further education in England, where she was the first woman to receive a certificate for advanced engineering concepts. In 1984, the company divided into two major sectors: on the one hand, Margarita dedicated herself to marine electronics. On the other hand her sister Rosa did the same in the health department. In the same year Margaritas husband was also integrated into the company’s technical department.
An important moment in Dahlbergs history was the acquisition of ISO 9001 in 2003. “We were the first, and it allowed us to standardize all work routines and improve our efficiency.”
Another important step was the relocation of the company center to the Son Rossinyol business park in Palma in 2006. “During this time, all our expectations were exceeded. We had 17 employees and supplied the overwhelming majority of Spanish shipyards. In fact, we made 70 percent of our sales on the mainland, while only 30 percent were generated on Majorca.”
Then came the crisis … “We noticed the first impact in 2006”. Revenue went down drastically and the solution to this problem was not easy at all. “I never thought of closing the company, even if it was difficult to settle all the bills,” says the businesswoman.
The company had to restructure, reduce wages and develop new strategies to overcome this situation. “In the field of electronics, we could not work at the national level as we wanted, because B & G was taken over by a multinational company as a result of globalization. After it we concentrated on the repair area.”
From this bad situation they learned for the future. “Nowadays, everything is better planned and analyzed, and in recent years, we have improved our knowledge, especially in the technical field. We know that nothing can be as it used to be, but the crisis could not last forever and we wanted to be prepared.
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy task. Many small business owners have used their equity to support their business. There is a moment when the individual entrepreneur realizes that he can not develop on his own because there are too many problems that he can not solve alone. He has to join an association which also defends his interests.”
Interview published in “Empresarios con Valor”
©Mª José Merino