Entrepreneurs are always looking for heroes to follow and we remember figures like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs . In Mexico we also have high-impact entrepreneurs who have changed the way we do business and an example is Mr. Roberto González Barrera , who, thanks to his faith in Mexico, created the world’s leading company in the production of corn flour and tortillas.
Don Roberto González Barrera was the founder and president of the Board of Directors of GRUMA , as well as president for life of Banorte Financial Group and is remembered as one of the most important businessmen in Mexico thanks to the construction of two of the largest companies and thousands of jobs in the country.
The life of the founder of GRUMA left us 7 great lessons
1. “Vision and perseverance have no age”
From a very young age, he demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit when he started his first “business”, a shoe shine drawer, at the age of eight. A business that he later grew by renting bolero boxes to his cousins and friends, although that meant having competition.
2. “The best decisions are those that leave fear locked up with a padlock and double key”
It all started when the young Roberto González Barrera, visiting a friend in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, discovered a small mill that produced 18 tons of corn flour per month. Without thinking twice and with a great vision for the future, he decided to buy it to start a new company. This company would be the predecessor of Grupo Maseca.
3. “Successful people are ordinary people with extraordinary ideas.”
With effort, dedication, research, work and not a few sacrifices, in May 1949 in Cerralvo, Nuevo León, Roberto González Barrera and his father founded the world’s first nixtamalized corn flour production plant. They created a brand that today is present in millions of homes: Maseca, formerly Nixharina.
4. “When talent is added, achievements multiply”
To achieve great success, talent and hard teamwork are essential. Thus, one of its most important pillars, the engineer Manuel Rubio Portilla, joined GRUMA, a talented professional who with his knowledge in research and technology strengthens the company to conquer a market that had only consumed tortillas made in the traditional way.
5. “The greatest Mexicans are those who never settle”
Costa Rica was the first country to open operations outside of Mexico in 1973. From that moment on, GRUMA began a constant expansion through the years, reaching almost 100 plants in various countries of the Americas until the moment of its death. , Europe, Asia and Oceania, thus becoming the undisputed leader in the production of corn flour and tortillas worldwide.
6. “The greatest risk is not taking risks in life”
His vision and great love for Mexico, led Mr. Roberto González Barrera in 1992 to venture into the financial world by acquiring Banorte, which at that time was a local bank and in a very few years, he managed to consolidate it with a solid presence at the national level and to turn this institution into the Strong Bank of Mexico, competing face to face with the largest and most powerful foreign banks.
7. “To get ahead, Mexicans must support Mexicans”
Recognized as a great philanthropist, Mr. Roberto González Barrera founded the Board of Trustees for Educational Development and Assistance Cerralvo, the GRUMA Foundation and the Banorte Foundation. Through these great charities, his sense of social responsibility took extraordinary dimensions, helping millions of Mexicans by focusing their commitment to nutrition, education and ecological impact.
Roberto González Barrera (1930-2012). A great Mexican, a great businessman; visionary, philanthropist and passionate about the country. He believed in Mexico, in the talent and ability of Mexicans. Founder of GRUMA, the leading company in the production of corn flour and tortilla worldwide. In addition, with his leadership and tenacity, he managed to consolidate Banorte, El Banco Fuerte de México, as one of the most important financial groups in our country.