Global Business Owners (GBO) was born just over three years ago, in November 2017, when a Swedish businessman, Peter Redrin, decided to organize a series of meetings in Mallorca, his place of residence. In this interview, Miguel Ángel Reyes Riera, GBO’s CEO, explains how Redrin came to set up this club for entrepreneurs after 20 years of experience in marketing and sales.
How was GBO born?
During his travels in Europe, Peter always had the habit of inviting his business colleagues to connect and share ideas. All of this led him to organize regular meetings, which would soon become the nucleus of GBO. Today, GBO is a growing international business club with a presence in over 40 countries. At GBO we bring together owners, entrepreneurs, partners, founders and investors, from many different business sectors. At GBO we connect people with knowledge, knowledge with ideas, and ideas with opportunities.
At what point did you join as General Manager, and what challenges did you take on at that time?
After attending my first GBO meeting in September 2017 as a guest, I decided that I wanted to become a member of GBO. Little by little, my involvement in the club grew, and I became a shareholder and member of the Advisory Board in February 2018. In June 2019, I took over the role of President of GBO Madrid and, when Peter was forced to leave the company for personal reasons, in October 2019 I took over the position of CEO, which I have held ever since. The main challenge I set for myself at the time I took over the project was to take GBO to the international stage, moving away from the initial startup phase in which the company was in to making it a club with great global relevance. I soon found out that the challenge was going to be a big one, after the arrival of the pandemic, but I’m happy to say that we managed to overcome the difficulties, kept the club more alive than ever and set foot in more than 40 countries, from Canada to India. And we want this to be just the beginning.
How many members are there and what is the general profile of the club at this time worldwide and in Spain?
After one year in 2019, we managed to start expanding our network from 100 to 650 members and from 7 to 23 cities. The complicated situation the world is going through in 2020 is not alien to us. We have been unable to carry out face-to-face activities for months, a situation that still persists in some countries, and unfortunately the crisis has also impacted on many of our members. All this has led us to the current situation, with 170 members in Spain and 500 worldwide. However, we have taken advantage of the circumstances to increase our online activity, making available to our members a rich and varied offer of webinars, virtual meetings, streaming content and much more. In the meantime, we have closed agreements with GBO ambassadors around the world, laying the groundwork to face 2021 with the necessary strength and energy to continue strengthening our international business network. And all this, thanks to the effort and tenacity of the fantastic team of professionals that I am proud to have at my side.
What is the philosophy that unites the members of the club? Or, to put it another way, what do you want to do with your work?
At GBO, we want to create an ecosystem in which our partners have access to an international business network, made up of diverse profiles with representation from all sectors of activity, who share a desire to help and be helped. We believe that the right way to do business is to trust the person before you, so we base our interactions on friendship and trust, so that we act as a global business catalyst, while contributing to all those social causes that make the world a better place every day. In our communications, we use a #ProudToBeGBO hashtag, which perfectly summarizes our philosophy: we want GBO to be a network that our partners are always proud to belong to.
We believe that the right way to do business is to trust the person in front of you, so we base our interactions on friendship and trust
Do you think that the current moment of economic crisis and pandemic encourages this kind of mutual beneficial activities? Why?
Although the effects of the pandemic and the crisis are very deep, I am convinced that the importance of having a strong international network is, now more than ever, crucial for our professional and personal development. That is why I want GBO to be that place, where our members are comfortable and, from a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, have a very powerful tool to face present and future difficulties, and take advantage of the opportunities that are opening up to us. And every day we work to make GBO a tool for a greater number of entrepreneurs.
Could you cite three advantages of club membership to each of its members?
I believe that, more than anything that it is the members who should talk about the club’s advantages, as it is they who discover the value of GBO every day. They are the ones who tell us that GBO is an excellent international network where they find partners, clients, investors and friends, both in their local groups and around the world, who help them achieve their goals and open the doors to other markets and opportunities. They are the ones who highlight the virtues of establishing personal relationships based on trust before talking about business, because when two entrepreneurs know and trust each other, business flows naturally, it’s in our DNA! And it is our members who tell us that GBO is that place that allows them to achieve new goals in their professional careers and personal lives. I always like to highlight an anecdote that I find not only curious, but also a reflection of what GBO means. A few months ago, a partner in Stockholm, Sweden, met a first-time guest at one of our meetings. A few weeks later, he ended up hiring her as the CEO of one of the companies in which he is involved. This is the spirit of GBO, the spirit of mutual help, of opportunities and of that concept we like so much, «business friendship».
Finally, where would you like to see the club located in the next few years?
If there are two numbers that define our medium-term future, that’s 500 and 50,000. We want GBO to be present in 500 cities around the world and to have more than 50,000 members, in order to achieve our goal of not only being a key player in the global business and economic scene, but of having enough muscle to be able to influence policies and economic decisions that support the social causes that are so necessary for global development. It is an impressive challenge and a dream of impressive dimensions, but at GBO we are ready to achieve it, and I’m ready to continue leading it with total enthusiasm.