INTERVIEW: Dr. Sun Rius. Among the 148 founding investors of 11Onze Banc.
A doctor by profession and delegate of Terrassa’s Chamber of Commerce in Sant Cugat, Rubí and Catellbisbal, Sun Rius joins the 11Onze project as one of the investors and partners of the new Catalan bank. As co-owner of the health and food shop Gerd Rius Dietètica located in Sant Cugat, she criticises the treatment that traditional banking has given to small Catalan entrepreneurs. That is why she firmly believes in the possibility of breaking free from the old banking structures dominated by the Spanish state and thus achieving the emancipation of the country.
In what ways do you think banking has failed Catalan citizens and entrepreneurs?
It has failed on all fronts. All the current banks have been subordinated to the Ibex-35, they have allowed themselves to be dominated by the entities that make it up and that, in turn, exercise their power over our Catalan entities. This, in my view, is letting down the people who have put their trust in their respective banks.
Do you think that right now, in the midst of the pandemic, is a good time to launch a new Catalan bank?
I think it is more important than ever to build up our network of shops and businesses, especially now that the country has been hit hard by the crisis resulting from the pandemic. It is our tool for the future and therefore we need to strengthen it. But to do so, we need investment and we need to apply once again what we do best in Catalonia: work hard and plan for the future.
What motivated you to invest in 11Onze and what do you expect from the bank?
The project proposed by 11Onze seems very interesting to me. 11Onze is a way of collaborating with our country to achieve a certain degree of independence from Spain. I believe that a Catalan bank isolated from Spanish domination will give us the opportunity to work for Catalonia, and create more state structures in order to have more independence. Therefore, I hope for a bank that helps people and supports the efforts of small entrepreneurs geared towards a real country where we all live in a freer way.
As for other entrepreneurs, how do you think they will view the 11Onze project from the outside?
I think they will value very positively the ease of obtaining investment for their company. They will also appreciate the fact that 11Onze does not depend on Spain because this means that it will only look out for the future of Catalonia. Moreover, it will be a digitalised bank adapted to today’s needs, which are basically to have easy access, streamline processes, and make use of an intuitive application that everyone can use. All this makes the bank a very good proposition.
Given your experience as a businesswoman, what are the key values of 11Onze for you?
From my point of view, it is fundamental that it is an ethical bank. This means that it does not invest in weapons of war or favour the exploitation of children or vulnerable women as we find in other entities. It is essential to attain a banking system for which its main values are people and businesses, and with this, move the country forward.
Indeed, one of the peculiarities of 11Onze is that it is a community bank. Do you think that Catalans want to be part of a banking structure like this?
I think so. Until now, Catalans have had their hands tied when it came to being able to project all their energy into Catalonia and their entrepreneurship. I think that this has meant that, on the one hand, new business fabric has not emerged and, on the other hand, it has not allowed us to get as much rentability as a country as we could have. This is a good opportunity to start from scratch.
With all this in mind, would you invite others to join the 11Onze community?
Yes, of course I would. I think it is an innovative project that looks to the future. Moreover, the people behind this new bank are professionals who are convinced about their preferences and who will give enough confidence to Catalans to start giving off this ambition and desire to work on the future of the country.
What strengths would you highlight about Sun Rius as a businesswoman?
Starting from the fact that I am a doctor, Gerd Rius Dietètica had to bring health but also seriousness. When I opened the shop together with my sister, it was clear to us that my contribution would be to advise customers correctly. In spite of this, if I have to highlight any particular strength, it would be enthusiasm. Enthusiasm for work, to give service to all the people who came through the door and to generate trust thanks to a job well done. Perseverance has also been key for us; never giving up and constantly looking for new challenges that prioritise the satisfaction of my clients. I think this has been the key to the shop.
You are a well-known person in Sant Cugat del Vallès and have a very close relationship with the people of Sant Cugat del Vallès. What is the prevailing mood in the neighbourhood regarding the pandemic?
The word that best defines them is “anguish”. They are worried because they don’t know when or how it will end. They see that the labour market is falling, that there are many people who are becoming unemployed and those who have jobs don’t know under what conditions they will continue. In general, we don’t really know much about the future that awaits us, which is why a project like 11Onze can give us a lot of hope right now because of the solutions it offers. Being able to talk face to face, that you don’t encounter so many barriers when it comes to setting up your personal project and that they are committed to the talent of the Catalans, trusting in their chances of success.