Julio Endara and Volenday
Julio Endara is the Founder and Managing Director of VOLENDAY, company with different services, from recruitment to software development, whose mission is to excel in matching the right solutions to clients’ needs by selecting the best talent, applying the most suited technology and simplifying processes.
Furthermore, Julio is one of the founding members of the Spanish-Singaporean Chamber of Commerce.
Hello Julio, could you please introduce yourself?
Great first question and can be answered from many angles! Let’s start with what ‘drives’ me. My passion is building services and products. I get a kick out of seeing people using what I’ve created. I started young with software and ended up studying IT Engineering. I definitely like variety, I’ve worked with many business sectors, independently and in corporate roles, both in small and big companies. In 2010, I founded Volenday, which is where most of my energy goes nowadays.
In Volenday, our aim is to be your one-stop-shop for outsourcing services. We are primarily based in the Philippines. With over 400 staff, our main service is staff augmentation and we also do headhunting, HR, payroll, software development, technical support, etc.
On a more personal note, I met my wife and life partner, Lorena, in London. She’s from Venezuela and her background is health, which makes it an interesting conversation when people ask us how we met. We have two fantastic daughters who I hope we’re not spoiling too much.
When did you arrive in Singapore and what brought you here?
This August 2020 I claim 3 years in town already… time doesn’t fly, it just disappears right in front of us!
I see my arrival at Singapore as a life-time journey. I’ve lived in a variety of countries, including Chile (where I was born), Spain (where I grew up) and then long and short stints in countries such as the UK, Canada, USA, Australia, Philippines and a few others. Our first encounter with Singapore was back in 2006 while in transit to Australia. We liked it right away, and it wasn’t only because of the gardens and confirming that the Singapore Sling cocktail is really a thing… although that was very influencial!
Since Volenday’s inception, I knew that, eventually, we would need to seek expansion beyond the Philippines, Singapore was top on the list for this. Towards the end of 2016, we decided to create Volenday Singapore as our business hub, and our family new home-country.
Which has been your most difficult challenge since you are in this country?
You mean beyond the expensive beer? Before coming to Singapore, we spent 8 years in the Philippines… much cheaper beer!! It was a great time and we built a very strong and supportive network in business and also as a family. Starting afresh was tough for Lorena as her network here was much smaller. My youngest daughter, Zippy, also found it difficult. This was something we were not expecting but in hindsight was understandable as Zippy has a very outgoing personality so she missed her friends. Raquel, my eldest daughter, and I adapted right away but, in my case, the comparison is unfair as I kept travelling frequently to the Philippines.
How has your professional career evolved since you are in Singapore?
I wear several ‘hats’ and I’m quite hands on, so my role varies quite a lot regardless of the location. I also sometimes take client facing roles like account management or interim consulting roles.
Since our move to Singapore, I’ve focused more on strategy, business development and IT projects. As part of that, I’m now promoting our software development platform called AHA! I’ll tell you more about that soon!
Could you share with us something else regarding the progress of Volenday in Singapore? What about the opening of 2Be.Yoga?
The first part of the plan was to establish and make Volenday Singapore work as the new contracting hub for existing and new clients. Now that that’s done, we’re starting to leverage the new position to gain more clients in the region.
And yes! I’d love to talk about 2Be.Yoga, our new baby! We have a wide range of classes, from very mind focused (meditation) to the very physical (Bikram, Inferno Hot Pilates, etc) and everything in between! We love Yoga and I see it as preventive medicine!
Spearheading all this is Lorena whose passion for anatomy stems from her profession as Orthopaedic and Traumatology technician. She became a yoga instructor years ago and it was about time we opened our own studio. Volenday is involved providing the necessary back office support services. Also, because of our relationship with the Spanish Chamber, we have good promotions for members and their family members too.
What is your point of view in regards to making business in this country?
I think that operating in Singapore is relatively easy from a perspective of business regulatory operations and general stability. Beyond my personal experience, the ease of doing business index confirms this as it has consistently ranked Singapore #1 or #2 every year for well over a decade. Still, the market is very competitive but I guess that’s something that wouldn’t surprise anyone.
Would you like to give a piece of advice to someone new coming to Singapore?
Context is very important, general advice can only go so far as everyone has their own background and points of view. I’d say that like with every country, you should do as much research as you can, read about the country and ask people already living here questions important to you but be prepared to hear comments you didn’t ask for. As they say, the best advice is usually the one you didn’t ask for.
Going back to doing business in Singapore, something to be careful with is confusing ‘ease of doing business’ with ‘ease to make a profitable business’. This is a very competitive market and while it may be relatively easy to operate in it, its market and opportunities shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Any anecdote in Singapore that you would like to share with us?
A few weeks after we had arrived in Singapore, I walked into the lift of our building with both my daughters who were happily chatting and talking loudly. Inside was another resident of the building, he looked about the same age as my dad. He said with a serious face ‘We need more of this in Singapore!’. I wasn’t sure what he meant and after a short pause, he gave a big smile and continued “this country is too quiet and serious, we need more noise… people talking… happy children…” and he carried on the usual introductory conversation, where we are from, ages, etc. That was a great personal encounter to be had early in our settlement here, I felt at home!
Thank you for your time Julio!
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