Emigration; a rising phenomena — ULMA Begira

Ulma Construction

Emigration; a rising phenomena

Edward De Marta – Emigrant. Director of ULMA Construcción in Singapore: After agreeing to emigrate and convince his wife, Nekane of it, Edward de Marta packed his bags to start a passionate professional adventure more than 12,000 km from his home in San Sebastian.
Emigration; a rising phenomena
Jul 31, 2012

The crisis has instigated an increasing number of emigrations which, besides being an enriching experience, is possibly the only option. According to a study by Ernst & Young, the profi le of an emigrated professional is a 37 year old male (71%) that can speak English and with an advanced degree, having worked with his company between 5 and 9 years and that stays in the country he was destined for an average of 3 years. The ULMA Group currently has 17 emigrants.

One of them, Edward de Marta, Director of ULMA Construcción in Singapore, was available to tell us about his experience.

“It was around 2007 when they decided to create the ULMA Construcción branch in Singapore, attracted by the increase in the country’s construction sector, and their strategic position in the Southeast Asian market, besides the benefits granted for developing businesses. Singapore, a city-state, is one of the leading countries in Southeast Asia with a solid financial system and open economy that provides easy business creation opportunities. They have a free economy with high growth expectations. It is one of the most important logistical centres in the world. It’s easier to do business in Singapore to start any company activity because it is a very competitive, top level country with a complete lack of corruption and bureaucracy.

There was a high demand for construction materials with a scarcity of formworks and scaffolding.

2006 was the start of an important growth in the country with high investments in the construction sector relative to the upcoming decade. There was a high demand for construction materials with a scarcity of formworks and scaffolding. Singapore is the ideal platform for expanding any business in Southeast Asia and Pacific Asia. It was an ideal stage for successfully starting our branch. With regards to the future, there are clear intentions by the government to invest both in the public and private sector, launching new infrastructure and residential projects, which positively affects our growth.

The confidence they bestowed on me and positive esteem of my skills gave me a lot of encouragement and motivation to lead this project.

In the beginning of 2008 I went alone to start the creation of ULMA Formwork Singapore Pte. Ltd. and to start paving a way for ULMA Construcción in the area. The confidence they bestowed on me and positive esteem of my skills gave me a lot of encouragement and motivation to lead this project. The Business has started out fast due to the high demand for formworks and the lack of materials on the market. Immediately we got our first containers of materials and started placing them in key works, where the need for material was very high. Our clients are local, Japanese and Korean construction companies. Because of safety demands the BCA (Building and Construction Authority) in the client’s works require complete formwork systems in all safety elements, something which our local competition don’t have well developed. On the other hand, they value our products´ high productivity in assembly and disassembly because of their lightness and modularity.

In the summer of 2008, with my wife, Nekane, and son, Daniel, now in Singapore, we started our life as immigrants like the 1 million foreigners in this city-state. There are many stereotypes about Southeast Asia, and also about Singapore. The popular TV programs present only one part of the city and a very partial truth. Even though life as an immigrant seems simple, there are some difficult situations at times. There is a huge cultural difference, with details to learn right from the start. Not to be too thankful. To give your card with two hands. The business card is essential, even during leisure, business is business. In Singapore, English is the official language along with Chinese, Tamil and Malay.

When we get vacations we escape to the nearby exotic beaches, since in Singapore there are none because of the intense shipping, 24 hours a day, resulting in contaminated coasts. Even though Singapore’s weather is tropical, humid and hot all year long, it has its Monsoon rains seasons. Golf is common here in the world of business, so I’ve had to learn to play to participate in tournaments with our clients. Now I play at least twice a month.”

Night scene in SINGAPORE.