25 years of activity in the field of international trade

1998

In 1998, I started working in the tourism sector. At that time, I was a student, and the only economic activity we could undertake was inviting foreign tourists to visit Iran. In fact, I took advantage of the time difference between Iran and various countries, as well as the differences in holiday schedules between Iran and other countries. At opportune times, I would establish connections with travel agencies and interested individuals in different countries, organizing tours to Iran as part of a marketing program. Back then, about 25 years ago, the state of cyberspace and information and communication technology was completely different from today. None of today’s applications, including Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., existed, and establishing contact with foreign buyers was a very difficult task. The internet was not as it is today, and we had to use Dial-Up modems for our communications. Sometimes, to send an email, especially with an attachment, we had to wait from night until morning.

As a result of these activities, we later became one of the largest tour operators in the country. We were no longer just organizing cultural tours but also offered sports tours to the north, ski tours, football camp tours, tours to football games, and more.

I remember organizing the largest tour for the football match between Iran and Ireland, attended by 1,100 fans of the Irish national team in Tehran.

However, what always fascinated me was organizing business tours and programs that could establish connections between manufacturers, exporters, and investors—tours that could turn opportunities into potential business situations. For this reason, I strived to enter the trade sector gradually by utilizing business tours and visiting major international exhibitions.

1999

Therefore, we decided to focus specifically on business opportunities from 1999 to 2005, and now I realize that it was the introduction to my current role as a business coach.

Organizing tours to visit exhibitions in European countries has been included in our plans. Honestly, I also wanted to see what’s happening around the world. Back then, I was only 20 years old. We planned for hundreds of people to visit exhibitions such as CeBIT, K, Automechanika, Anuga, Vicenzaoro, Resale, and more. Leading trade delegations and visiting such exhibitions worldwide was a very important task for me. On one hand, it involved getting to know Iranian manufacturers and their challenges, and on the other hand, it meant being present in major global commercial markets.

On the other hand, we decided to also expose ourselves to foreigners, foreign groups that came to Iran for business trips and were interested in interacting with Iranian companies. At that time, we registered as the exclusive agency for the Iran International Exhibition and agreed with the Iran International Exhibition Company to offer our services to visitors of the 29th Tehran International Exhibition. This not only included travel services but also commercial services and the organization of B2B meetings, which were among our most important activities at that exhibition.

At that time, specialized exhibitions had not yet been established in Iran, and all industries and countries would gather in one large international exhibition, creating a very crowded space for exchanges. Our presence as a commercial agency was certainly important in establishing relationships between buyers and sellers. I remember that year we were able to facilitate more than 500 business negotiations between foreign companies and Iranians.

After this exhibition, we operated as a commercial consultant who also provided travel services. Large exhibitions such as the Iran Oil Show, Iran Plast, and Water & Waste Water were among the events where we were able to successfully offer our commercial services.

Getting acquainted with the business cultures of various countries from Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and others had led to a broad knowledge of commerce with these countries, and on the other hand, it created extensive connections. It was gradually becoming time to implement my decision; yes, we changed the company’s focus from tourism to the commercial sector. Exiting the tourism sector was one of the hardest years of my life. If I were to start over today, I would definitely choose the tourism industry as the starting point of my journey, an industry that is dynamic, generates currency in a suitable manner, and is considered one of the best industries for income distribution in society. An industry that, in those years, I referred to as the “smokeless industry” in an article.

It still does not have an acceptable ranking, and there needs to be an enhancement of knowledge in this field. Therefore, since 2017, we have prioritized two important areas: knowledge enhancement and marketing in the field of international trade.

These were significant opportunities that allowed us to enter the business environment, especially in the sector of international trade.

2004

Our activities in the field of commercial services for traders/exporters and importers continued, but Iran’s presence in target countries and the facilitation of negotiations between Iranian and foreign companies constituted a major part of our activities in our company. Every day, we received new requests for organizing business meetings between Iranian and foreign companies. We established connections with organizations such as the Iran Export Development Organization (now the Trade Organization of Iran) and frequented and negotiated at various chambers of commerce. We identified and established good working relationships with trade councils in Iran and other countries.

After that, we decided to organize major exhibitions in other countries as well as Iran to develop trade relations between Iran and target countries. We can refer to exhibitions such as IMEX04 and also IMEX05 in Isfahan and Kuala Lumpur. We could hardly believe that at the IMEX exhibition in Isfahan, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, along with four ministers including Ms. Rafidah Aziz, the Minister of Industry and Commerce of Malaysia, would inaugurate our exhibition. Of course, we put in a lot of effort in the Kuala Lumpur office along with a professional team to make this significant event happen.

Holding these exhibitions put us completely in the business environment. The successes achieved from these exhibitions positioned us in front of investors and also investees, producers, exporters, and also major contract buyers, providing a great opportunity to enter the field of business and investment.

Entering the chambers of commerce in Iran and other countries, negotiating as part of trade delegations, speaking at international forums, and giving speeches at press conferences, including speaking at the Iran-Malaysia business forum in the presence of the President or Prime Minister of a country, were among the sweet experiences of those years.

2006

We decided to establish a trading group in Malaysia, and I still firmly believe that to create connections, one must get closer to the buyers. If you don’t, the buyer will come towards you, and your bargaining power will definitely decrease because you have allowed the buyer to also connect with your competitors.

The duty of this group was to establish connections with Iranian traders and industrialists, as well as major buyers and investors in the ASEAN region. We managed to form good commercial projects between Iran and the ASEAN region. Our trading group’s project was progressing well, achieving new successes every day, and our network in that area was expanding. I can confidently say that during my years in the beautiful country of Malaysia, I gained extensive experience in the field of trade and foreign investment. I attended numerous training courses held by MATRADE, MIDA, and SMIDEC. Being in this country and connecting with both the public and private sectors made us consider Malaysia our second home. Meeting the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, was among the significant highlights of my presence in the ASEAN region. Until the introduction of some international restrictions led to a decrease in relations, and our presence in Tehran, the capital of Iran, became more and more significant.

ASEAN is essentially a trade union similar to Eurasia, which has facilitated the process of trade among its members through a trade agreement. Countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam are the ten members of this organization.

Malaysia is one of the key countries in this union, playing a very active role. In addition to commercial activities in this country, I seriously pursued the enhancement of my knowledge in the field of international trade there. I spent 15 days of the month in this country and 15 days in Iran. It can be said that this part of my life was one of the active phases in my career field.

Received a letter of appreciation from the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

2008

The period of international restrictions made us focus more on the import sector, something that completed our knowledge in the field of trade. Although most of us work in the export sector, it was necessary to experience import operations, especially in the area of industrial equipment and collaboration with reputable international brands. We have undertaken numerous projects in the oil and gas and construction sectors within the industrial fields.

Over the years, our familiarity with the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries has expanded, and we have succeeded in participating in various tenders or introducing domestic and foreign companies to participate in these large projects.

The markets of Oman, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation, Iraq, and others were among the identified markets for entry and negotiation with major customers.

I plan to also write about the challenges and mistakes at some point, detailing the errors I made, the problems that arose, and how we resolved them. We certainly started this journey empty-handed and had to proceed with determination. Now, looking back at the challenges we faced, I sometimes take pleasure in how we managed to overcome them.

One of the biggest mistakes in the career of any individual is partnering with people who lack the necessary knowledge and skills for business activities. Their mistakes are numerous, and the work environment is not defined for these individuals. Undoubtedly, these people will put your business at risk.

They do not value management, knowledge, or perseverance at all. Perhaps, if I were to offer advice to enthusiasts and young entrepreneurs, it would be never to involve this group in your success, but to share your journey towards success with others as much as possible!

2010

In 2010, we focused on the markets of Central Asia, Russia, and the Caucasus in our plan and began studies in the field of trade in this region. These are significant markets from which we can say we have underutilized. The cultural similarities in these countries were highly attractive to us. Some of these countries have kinship relations with us, which expanded our connections in this area every day.

In addition to the oil and gas sector in the mentioned regions, numerous other opportunities have been identified, and various companies are preparing to enter these valuable opportunities.

2011

The first area of work in neighboring countries was related to Central Asian countries. As a CEO and with international experience at my disposal, I was able to implement all my experiences in the form of developing the export of goods and technical and engineering services. The sales in the second year after my presence in this company were unbelievable to the board of directors and shareholders. Different departments were established in the commercial area including oil and gas, building materials, chemical products, agricultural products, and more.

In this company, we successfully exported many products to Central Asian countries, Russia, and Iraq. Signing contracts in countries like Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Russia, participating in international tenders, and attracting good opportunities for Iranian companies were very sweet experiences in this field for us.

Speaking at the Turkmenistan International Oil and Gas Conference

Participating in international oil and gas conferences and speaking at these important conferences, establishing connections with large companies and also transferring experiences to various companies, helping to develop the export of products from Iran to these countries and finding new markets for Iranian companies are among the round-the-clock activities in this region. Having a completely professional team and a friendly relationship between this team and the chain in different countries was the most important reason for our success in these large and professional markets. These good relationships are expanding every day in the form of cooperation between major consultants in target regions to develop the export of goods and technical and engineering services, as well as attracting foreign investments.

One of the most important reasons for success is being present in the target market. Although many companies are afraid of entering the target market, establishing offices, or branches, it must be said that this is one of the most effective tools for achieving success in the field of exports.

2016

Economic development centered on the private sector and efforts to develop international cooperation are not possible through a commercial company alone; business consultants today bear the responsibility for this development. The development of these companies in Iran began in 2016 in the field of business consulting, focusing on export development and attracting foreign investment. Establishing connections with international organizations such as WAIPA and the World Trade Center has created a suitable framework for international trade knowledge and its enhancement in Iran.

Our studies in Iran show that although the country has made acceptable progress in areas such as technology, there are fields in which:

  • International trade knowledge
  • Foreign investment attraction knowledge
  • International business law knowledge
  • International accounting knowledge
  • International marketing knowledge

still does not have an acceptable ranking, and knowledge enhancement in this field must be addressed. Therefore, since 2017, we have prioritized two important areas: knowledge enhancement and marketing in the field of international trade.

Designing comprehensive export management skill enhancement courses and training over 700 individuals in this field, and establishing a permanent exhibition for Iran’s exports and investment were among these major projects.

Fortunately, with the cooperation of the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology, we designed the largest permanent exhibition for Iran’s exports and built it in 4 months and 22 days, delivering it to the esteemed Vice Presidency for Science and Technology. We also held comprehensive export management courses on a monthly basis. Today, both subjects are considered major successes for Shiral.

Previous slide
Next slide

However, Sheral’s recent project in the field of marketing is a topic that can be said to be one of the important tools regarding the sale of Iranian products in target export markets.

International certificates of Dr. Alireza Shirmohammadi Fard

Certificate from the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies

Coaching certificate from the World Trade Organization in the field of exports

Certificate in teaching innovative international payments at the global level

Mentoring certificate issued by the International Trade Centre, a subsidiary of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization

Why Investment in Iran?

When you decide to invest in a country or you want to select a destination for Investment, it is very important to consider following items at your destination:

  1. Market
    HumanResources
    Energy
    Risk

You need to analyze the destination by above mentioned indexes to make sure you will have a sustainable business at your destination.

Lets have a look to the Iran as a destination for investment:

1-Market

Even if the local population in the country big enough to create a local market for your investment, but it worth to mention that Iran has located just in the middle of a large region, the import value of this region is over 1300 Billion USD, it means Iran as a destination create a valuable local and international market for your investment.

You may ask, who has considered this as a reason for investment in Iran?

The answer is that there are several investment which has been done during the last 10 years in Iran, do you want to know more about the Iran Foreign Direct investment success stories?

Ofcourse over of hundred foreign direct investment has been developed in Iran and the investors are enjoying their investment in Iran.

The most important point is how to design your strategy in order to make large development in Iran considering the large local market as well as the importing market of neighboring countries?

Lets have a look to some of the Success stores:

A: Bel Group:

Bel Group is a leading international French company in cheese market founded in 1865. With more than 11,000 employees worldwide, Bel products are available in more than 125 countries. Bel started its subsidiary in Iran in 2007 through a joint venture with the Iranian Company of Sahar-Dairy, a well-known Iranian dairy producer that carried “Rouzaneh” brand. Now fully owned by Bel group and is actively developing its product range under its 3 brands: Rouzaneh, Kibi and the Laughing Cow.

Previous slide
Next slide

B: Hyper Star

Iran Hyper Star is an Iranian subsidiary of French multinational retailer Carrefour in Iran, was founded by Majid Al Futtaim and Carrefour. It has experienced a large development in Iran and now has 15 branched in Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Yazd, Mashad, Sirjan and Ghazvin.

Previous slide
Next slide

C: Hayat

Hayat is the world’s 4th largest branded diaper manufacturer and the largest tissue producer in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa and a major player in the fast moving consumer goods sector. With its 16 powerful brands, including Molfix, Bebem, Molped, Joly, Bingo, Test, Has, Papia, Familia, Teno, Focus, Nelex, Goodcare, and Evony in the hygiene, home care, tissue, and personal health categories, Hayat brings HAYAT* to millions of homes in more than 100 countries.

With the belief that everyone in this world has the right to access the best quality products at affordable prices, Hayat has been carrying its products to the geographies it operates in and conducting its business with a focus on high quality and innovation since the day it was founded.

In order to offer the most innovative and most accurate products, Hayat constantly follows the local conditions and trends in the world and tries to make a difference with the innovations it has created at its R&D Center.

With its 24 production facilities in eight countries, including Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Algeria, Russia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Vietnam, and its sales and distribution companies in Morocco, Bulgaria, Kenya, Malaysia, and Thailand, Hayat provides employment and value wherever it goes.

Previous slide
Next slide

Do you want to know their strategy for investment in Iran?

What we can do for you if you have decided to Invest in Iran?

There are several IPAs in Iran which can provide Investment services for you in the country, Made in Iran recommend following agencies as the best Investment Promotion Agencies in Iran:

SHERAL as a private Investment Promotion Agency is providing following services for the Foreign Investors in Iran:

  • Legal Services
    Financial Consultation Services
علیرضا شیرمحمدی فرد

You can contact directly Mr. Alireza Shirmohamadi if you want to know more about Investment in Iran.

Alireza Shirmohammadi fard

Email: chairman@sheralBusiness.com

SSPC Investment Consulting Group Company established in 2007, with 2 local offices in Iran and strategic partners around the globe, with more than 25 multidisciplinary specialists providing a full range of services for public and private sector.

  • Prefeasibility and Feasibility study
    Project Financing
    Project control and Supervision
    Banking Service Management

You can directly contact Mr. Mohamad Sadegh Khoshnevis if you want to know more about investment in Iran:
Email:info@sspc.ir

Hoping for the day when, by enhancing international trade knowledge and the marketing capabilities of Iranian companies abroad, we can use the development of international trade to improve welfare in society.