Taking a look “inside”

In Cuba, people sometimes joke “Why make it simple when you can make it difficult?” and this reminds us of the pencil guy.

Once upon a time, at one of Havana’s annual International Fairs we were approached by a pencil magnate who wanted nothing more than for us to facilitate his taking a look inside one of Cuba’s pencil factories while he happened to be at the weeklong fair.  (The product was not actually pencils, but we’re not here to embarrass anyone, so we’ve changed the story slightly.) “Just get me inside and I’ll be able to see what equipment they’re lacking, and see what I need to bring in,” he insisted.  Indeed, in many other countries this would not be an extraordinary request.  And Cuba needs investment, right?

The thing is, in Cuba, these kinds of visits are never arranged on the fly.  The unfortunate fact is that the difficult economic conditions in the country have attracted a number of investors over the years who are looking simply to profit from those conditions – an improved Cuban economy is actually contrary to their interests.  Seen in this light, there is some wariness, and it’s understandable.

Then there’s also the fact that Cuban factory directors are themselves busy professionals, with little time or relish for sight-seers and tire-kickers.  That’s why they always insist on some kind of proposal.  Who are you?  What do you want to do?  Where have you done it before?  They’ll want to check your references.  All these things take time.  And Cuba’s bigger than most people think.  There is often more than one “pencil factory” to see.  Site visits are certainly not impossible, but an advance team and a plan are essential.  We know how to set these things up and can help you get the meetings you want, with all the background information.

Or…we can do the visit for you.  Either way, once you’ve evaluated the situation, if you decide to continue forward, we can go the distance.  We can set you up with a roadmap, accompany you through negotiations, even provide a turnkey solution by representing you in those negotiations, or set you free to pursue the investment on your own – the choice is entirely yours.