A few weeks ago, I was informed that my company, Puck Import, S.L., had been nominated for an award since we work not only in Spanish but also in Catalan (so-called linguistic normalization; normalització lingüística). This prize is one of many which the local business organization ADEG (Associació d'Empresaris de Garraf, Alt Penedès i Baix Penedès) presents at its annual gala dinner La Nit de l'Empresa (the company night). I had wanted to join ADEG for a long time, but had waited because of the crisis. The nomination was now a good excuse both to apply for membership and to sign up for the dinner.
Formally, ADEG only represents its 1.100 members – all associated on a voluntary basis - but if you follow the local debate, you quickly realize that the organization is the leading player in most business and labour market related issues, versus the politicians of the comarques which it covers - Garraf, Alt Penedès and Baix Penedès – as well as to the world outside.
ADEG also organizes numerouscourses to which its members can attend at subsidized rates. The topics are undeniably interesting - from presentation skills to tax advice or Web 2.0 solutions - but I realize that it will take a while before I have the time for such activities.
What I personally look forward to short term is to present my company in an article in the ADEG magazine, and then follow up with company news, or maybe even be invited to participate in their radio show. The value of such advertising space is undoubtedly superior to the 208 € membership fee which you pay as a small businesses, so with that part I am highly content.
However, my participation in La Nit de l’Empresa would have benefited from being postponed another year. As I begin to have acquaintances in shops and companies around Vilanova, I was negatively surprised to come to the event and have to admit to myself that I did not recognize one single face among the other businessmen. I did know the name of all the politicians who were there - including the guest of honor Josep Huguet,
My mingling efforts resulted in a fiasco, but I am not surprised. I do, after all, come from a small town and know that people who attend this kind of events do so to meet those whom they already know or, at most, those they have at least heard of, but will not to start to talk to absolute strangers – that is the case of small towns in Catalonia as well as in my native Sweden.
Once it was time to sit down, it turned out that I actually knew the representatives of one of the other companies. They arrived late but were - thanks to an active intervention by ADEG - at the same table as me. Although I did not need them there - also the other people at our table were nice and easy to talk to - their presence increased the exchange of the evening.
One of the aspects of ADEG which remains for me to explore is how many foreigners there are among the members. Theoretically, there could be quite a few, since Sitges has several hotels and shops with foreign owners. Having said that, my prejudice is that these have established their own, separate, associations, probably in English and probably only within the
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