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Riego y Gestión: all about water

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Whilst agriculture may seem like a natural and straightforward process, there are many technological nuances related to water systems that can help farmers make a more efficient use of their resources. Riego y Gestión installs water supply systems for farmers and construction companies and advises on optimising cultivation and watering methods. “We want to help farmers reduce their water and electricity costs and be more energy efficient,” explains Esther Sánchez, co-founder of Riego y Gestión.

The company emerged from a casual chat over coffee. “Two friends of mine were studying engineering and they were worried about their job prospects after graduation. When they talked about their dissertations on agriculture and water management, I thought that there were some really good business ideas within their theses,” says Esther. “I didn’t know anything about agriculture or water supply systems - I’m specialised in business management and financing - but I felt that we could make it work. They could focus on the agricultural side of the business, and I could do the administration.”

Twenty years later, the student start-up is now a well-established company that works with farmers across Spain. “In a sense, we set up this business to create job opportunities for ourselves. But the good thing about what we do is that upon the installation of more efficient water supply systems, we are indirectly creating and maintaining jobs as well because lower water and electricity bills allow farmers to invest elsewhere,” indicates Esther. “This is particularly the case in large projects, such as those contracted by large agricultural construction enterprises,” she emphasises.

However, the greatest opportunities also come with certain challenges. “We needed financial support to keep the business going between the beginning of a project, when we incur costs, and the end of it, when our clients pay us,” Esther explains. “Independent farmers or cooperatives pay us for our services very quickly, but private construction companies, who request the largest and more expensive services, pay us approximately 260 days after the project is contracted. Therefore, our treasury is under a lot of pressure,” she adds. With an EU-guaranteed credit line through Caja Rural, backed by the EIF, the company was able to solve this cashflow issue and continue with its activities.

Company: Riego y Gestion (Spain)

Type of business: agriculture

EIF financing: SME Initiative Spain

Financial intermediary: Caja Rural

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Spain, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/es/index.htm

 

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