Friday, July 12, 2024

Dércio Parker: “One of the obstacles to the growth of SMEs in Mozambique is the tax burden

Dércio Parker, founder of Marcas e Companhia Internacional (MCI), witnessed the birth of the company in 2013, driven by the perception of needs and opportunities in the Mozambican market.

Today, MCI stands out in the tourism sector and offers a wide range of services, from transfers, airport reception, tour packages, excursions, helicopter and plane rental to commercial travel to any global destination, hotel reservations, event and conference organization.

Profile Mozambique: Tell us about your trajectory and how MCI has evolved to become a connected group full of brands, actions and connections.

Dércio Parker: Marcas e Companhia Internacional (MCI), created in 2013, originated from the perception of the need and opportunity in the market to create a company like ours. The seed of MCI was planted when I led the launch of a brand at a major event. The experience sparked my interest in taking the company forward.

At the time, I was involved in a private operating segment in travel and tourism. I observed that many clients, mainly investors and business people, came to Mozambique with the aim of establishing business or holding meetings, but often left the country without accomplishing their goals.

It was from this observation that the idea arose to create a company offering specific services to this target audience. Thus Marcas e Companhia Internacional (MCI) was born, with the mission of representing brands and companies in Mozambique, helping them to enter and consolidate in the local market.

In the first year of operation, we decided not to include travel services, although the attraction of the sector was undeniable. Tourism is an intrinsic passion that is hard to resist, something that is ingrained in our DNA. MCI, initially focused on providing services to national and foreign individuals and companies, sought to be a reliable and serious entity in Mozambique, attracting partners looking for a solid collaboration to boost their business.

That, in a nutshell, was MCI’s initial trajectory, marked by a commitment to excellence and a continuous quest to meet the dynamic needs of our clients.

PM: Ten years after its creation, what services, opportunities and solutions does Marcas e Companhia Internacional (MCI) offer Mozambican companies?

DP: Over the years, we have gone through a process of selection, professionalization and learning, discerning what was really worth offering in terms of services. We learned a lot about which services added the most value to our clients, resulting in a more standardized range of offerings.

Today, our range of services extends from assistance with simple matters, such as passport, driver’s license and identity card procedures, to providing more comprehensive services, helping people with their documentary demands, investment bonds and other service-related needs. For companies, we offer assistance in project management and implementation, logistical support and business development for those wishing to establish themselves in Mozambique, relying on local partners with professional, human and technological skills.

We specialize in providing a complete solution for companies and individuals to operate or carry out processes in Mozambique. In addition, we have a dedicated travel division, known as the Travel Division, offering services to foreign and national operators, hotels, individuals and managers who wish to travel or operate within the country.

Business Division clients often need Travel Division services, and this integration on a single platform is what we call “One-Stop-Shop-Solution”, the main concept behind MCI’s service. We offer all these services on a single platform to meet the diverse needs of our clients.

PM: Tell us about the main events that have positively marked the company and contributed to its rapid growth.

DP: I believe that a significant part of MCI’s growth occurred during the transition from a sole proprietorship to a three-partner firm. This increase in expertise and the involvement of three partners brought immense value to the company, both financially and in terms of knowledge and skills. This change has allowed MCI to develop a medium- and long-term vision, enabling it to face both global and company-specific challenges.

In addition, the building of a solid client portfolio, with established contracts with major companies in the Oil & Gas, banking and insurance sectors, highlights MCI’s maturity in its 10 years of existence. The reputation and high demands of these clients give MCI substantial responsibility, but also notable distinction and merit. Maintaining stable and assertive growth over time has largely been possible because of our team, which is the real driving force behind the company.

PM: What are the current challenges holding back the growth of the Business Marketplace?

Fintechs, obviously, would be a way of greatly facilitating economic growth, because they allow people to create businesses online, businesses that don’t necessarily need to have an establishment, that in itself is a factor that can create a boom in the growth of companies, small and larger companies in Mozambique.

So I think this is an aspect to consider in order to leverage the Business Market in Mozambique. Another aspect that I think is also a field that doesn’t exist, or rather isn’t properly developed, is packaging, labelling. We need to create the entire value chain to put products on the market, not only on the domestic market, but also on the international market, that are able to compete on various levels, both in terms of presentation and in terms of brand and quality, with other products that are imported into Mozambique, so that Mozambique also has its own products on display and for sale.

PM: What strategies do you use to overcome challenges and become resilient?

DP: It’s inspiring to observe MCI’s proactive and continuous improvement-oriented approach over the years. The commitment to keeping up to date and constantly adapting is fundamental in a constantly evolving business environment. In addition, the investment in technology highlights the company’s vision of growth, allowing it to stand out in the market.

On the other hand, commitment to quality delivery is crucial to building and maintaining the company’s reputation over time.

PM: Allied to the trends of digital transformation, how is MCI positioning itself, looking at our context?

DP: MCI demonstrates a remarkable commitment to innovation and technology to boost its growth and market presence. With three renovations to its business website and a travel website with online booking, the company seeks to meet the specific needs of each sector. The use of social networks and a CRM system highlights the importance of effective communication and solid relationships with customers.

Therefore, I think the bet on technology is vital, and the company recognizes that significant investment is not necessary, highlighting the accessibility of online tools and the importance of basic skills, such as computer science and English.

PM: What does it look like for MCI to project into the future while keeping its feet in the present?

DP: MCI’s vision for the future is ambitious and geared towards consolidation and continuous expansion. With a ten-year track record, we recognize that this is a significant milestone, but we also feel the need for more time to fully consolidate the objectives.

And he notes that the aim is not only to grow in size, but also to expand its capabilities and presence beyond its current borders. MCI aims to be recognized as the partner of reference for Mozambique in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region and, ultimately, to expand its influence throughout Africa.

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