Álvaro Rodríguez Acosta, president of Ventura Group
Perseverance and entrepreneurship, the keys to Buenaventura's progress
"The winners of the battle of life are persevering men, who, without believing themselves geniuses, were convinced that only in perseverance has the desired end been achieved." With this phrase, Álvaro Rodríguez Acosta highlights the quality that, in his view, must prevail in all actions of life, in order to achieve success: perseverance.
And it is precisely perseverance that has led this entrepreneur and leader to create a company, to position it and, above all, to help hundreds of people through the generation of job opportunities that allow them to improve their lives and, therefore, hence, those of all their families.
Álvaro Rodríguez Acosta, is from Monterrey, a lawyer specialized in maritime and port law. He studied in the capital of the country, but came to Buenaventura many years ago: “First I had to move to Bogotá for study and education reasons; Later, when I was a director of the Morrison-Knudsen project of the Cerrejón (coal and ports), I was fortunate to work in the State Ports Company of Colombia and there I met a Dutch investor who asked me to work with him and made me see that the future of Colombia is in the Pacific ”.
In this way and thanks to his effort, dedication and, above all, perseverance, he contributed to the creation of Ventura Group and Opp Graneles, a company that he currently chairs. “We are five companies in the logistics and port sector; We have port concessions and we currently operate the bulk terminal of the Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Buenaventuras SA and Grupo Portuario Muelle 13 ”.
This business group generates 560 direct jobs and an average of 120 indirect ones, between secondary operators and payroll employees at the Buenaventura maritime terminal, where they have the highest volume of operation.
The company has a contract signed with the port company until 2034, which means an investment commitment of more than 40 million dollars, which they have been executing in equipment, warehouses and transfer lines, to the point that they have already been invested 30 million dollars in Buenaventura since 2014.
In addition, aware of the importance of contributing to the progress of the city, he currently leads the Étika Verde Foundation, which works on issues focused on the social responsibility of the Port.
Thus, from the company and its foundation, it has generated and implemented projects to improve the lives of its employees and the community in its area of influence. Initiatives that have focused on issues such as housing and banking support, to eradicate 'drop by drop' loans. And precisely now, he has his efforts focused on the creation of Ventura Football Club, which will be Buenaventura's professional football team; the Football school for children in the most vulnerable areas of Buenaventa and continue with the management of the Healthy Environment Center, which is located in the Nayita neighborhood, among many other dreams for the people.
In an analysis made, they found that one of the high points and that brought the most headaches for the people of the region was that of 'drop by drop' loans, a reality that directly affects the pocket of households, for this reason , Álvaro decided to create a strategy to end the problem at its roots. Thus, through the intermediation of the employee fund, the Green Ethics Foundation and the company, provide loans that allow their employees to access favorable loans at their interest rates and terms.
But not only in this aspect, Álvaro Rodríguez has been propending for the well-being of the Valle del Cauca people. Own and dignified housing is one of the points that most occupies this employer, who, over time, generates more strategies and alternatives to ensure that the company's workers have the possibility of acquiring their home.
“We are promoting savings. For every peso that the employee saves in the fund, the company donates 50 cents. That allowed us to channel all those resources in the housing issue, an aspect in which we have had the support of Comfenalco Valle, "said the businessman, who added that thanks to the Compensation Fund they connected with the Kromo construction company that allowed them to participate together in the housing project called Ventura Mar Colinas de Comfamar, of 157 houses in the first stage, of which the first 27 will be inaugurated and delivered in the coming days.
“Within those first installments, an employee with 23 years of work in the company will be favored, whose house burned down. We had promised him that one of the first homes we were going to deliver would be for him. And we are going to comply, ”said Rodríguez Acosta, who answered other questions for Comfenalco Valle.
Two of the projects that you have focus on children and mothers who are heads of households. What can you tell us about these initiatives?
The Buenaventura community is tired of so many promises, that is why we as a business sector do not publicize the tasks we do, but mainly with our Étika Verde foundation, we are working with the GES (Healthy Environment Management Center) center, which it houses a nursery school and a workshop for single mothers heads of families. We also want to do an infirmary for vaccination and take the opportunity to teach them about environmental care.
You have been concerned about caring for the environment. What have they done?
A cleaning has been done in the estuaries, because nobody is worrying about the garbage that goes to the sea (…). We already did the first day. The same community helped us, we rescued more or less 35 tons of garbage and we continue at that.
Will the cleaning days be regular?
Yes, it is a continuous task, because the corporate purpose of the Étika Verde Foundation is the preservation of the environment. We also have an agreement with the Fundación del Pacífico, the graduates are studying fertilizer-free agricultural techniques, that is, organic agriculture.
Where does this vocation of service come from?
My father was, for many years, president of the San Carlos foundation that sought to help all the prisoners in Colombia; suddenly it is a question of genes, of DNA. In addition, one is moved in Buenaventura to see how corruption has destroyed a city that has a great future. We hope that one day that will end and that Buenaventura will be recognized as it is: the main port node in Colombia and the main municipality of Valle del Cauca.