The Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (SpCCJ) announced the winners of its 6th “Spain Japan Business Contribution Awards (SJBCA)”, on Friday, 12 November 2021 at the Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon, in the presence of the H.E. Ambassador of Spain to Japan, Jorge Toledo Albiñana.

Established in 2016 by the committee of the SpCCJ to recognize successful business relations between Spain and Japan, the SJBCA has become one of the most important events among the Spain Japan business community in Japan.

In this 6th year, the SpCCJ presented the award to the Spanish football legend Andres Iniesta and his company SPORTS&LIFE (S&L) to recognize his outstanding career in football both in Spain and Japan and also his contribution to strengthening Spain Japan business relations through his various projects at S&L.

With the celebration of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer, the Board of Directors at the SpCCJ decided to bring a “Sports” theme to this year’s award. Recognized and respected not just in Spain but also globally as one of the best athletes in history, Andres Iniesta brought a positive image of Spain to Japan since his arrival to the country in 2018.

As an example, being chosen as “Honorary Ambassador of Marca España” together with other famous athletes such as Rafael Nadal, Pau Gasol, and Fernando Alonso, in the project named “Spain For Sure”, shows his huge influence in the country. The project was launched in 2020 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union, and the Secretariat of State for Global Spain, together with the Foro de Marcas Renombradas Españolas (Leading Brands of Spain Forum), the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, and the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE), to support a strong recovery from the Covid-19 and send a positive image of Spain abroad.

Mr. Iniesta’s success goes beyond the football field and as an athlete. In 2018, he established a global multidisciplinary sports business company, S&L, together with his manager Joel Borras. The company covers a wide range of business activities, ranging from representation of sports stars to intermediation in operations, brand management, to the creation of audiovisual content. Current projects include “Mikakus (trainers)”, “Iniesta Methodology (football academy)” and “Bodega Andrés Iniesta (winery)”.

We have a number of companies and organizations at the Spanish Chamber in the area of sports management. It is such an honor to see Andres Iniesta start a venture in Japan, proof of his entrepreneurial spirit as well as the business opportunities that Japan offers.

The Award Ceremony and the Reception was held at the Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon, with over 80 distinguished guests from the Spain Japan business community. Guests enjoyed dinner inspired by the flavor of Spain, which includes a dish specially prepared with Spanish Iberico Pork for this occasion, and excellent Spanish cava and wine provided by six Spanish brands.

The SJBCA was supported by a wide range of SpCCJ member companies; CVNE, Freixenet, Felix Solis, Garcia Carrion, Sukoruni Wine, and Torres generously sponsored excellent Spanish cava and wine, Solan de Cabras provided iconic Spanish mineral water, and long-time supporter Lladró sponsored beautiful trophy of Gallop for awardee with the wish for the Spain Japan business to continue growing as fast as gallop.

Comments from award recipients

Andres Iniesta

“Since my arrival, more than three years ago, I have tried to represent my country with pride and dignity; always with the will to maximize the image of Spain and generate a positive impact on a sporting, cultural and economic level.” “I am very happy with what this award means, and to be able to have a positive impact on the image of Spain and the country brand, in every sense.”

List of SJBCA winners

2016 LaLiga

2017 Rakuten, Inc.

2018 Gestamp Autotech Japan

2019 FAST RETAILING CO., LTD.

2020 Japan Airlines and Amadeus IT Group S.A. (Joint Awards)