Enterprise Europe Network

Moving into the fast lane

Auto-equipment SME makes a trade-fair splash applying lessons learnt from a Network seminar series.

Based in the eastern German town of Storkow, Alca Mobil auto accessories GmbH exports car parts and equipment to wholesalers in about 50 countries.

Although the SME regularly takes part in industry trade fairs, it had previously been doing so without proper preparation of a concrete business strategy, missing out on countless opportunities. All that changed for the better after Alca Mobil participated in three interactive seminars organised last year by IHK Ostbrandenburg in Frankfurt (Oder).

The series covered all steps from scheduling and proper preparation, to motivating employees and offering professional support at a booth, to post-event follow-up including evaluation and handling new company contacts. “All firms regardless of sector should know how to approach trade fairs,” says Heike Trusch, a project coordinator at IHK Ostbrandenburg.

Each session attracted about 20 participants, with Alca Mobil and several others attending all three. Applying its new know-how at the Automechanika 2012 fair in Frankfurt, the SME hooked up with wholesalers from Spain, Turkey and the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia with whom it is now doing business. “Thanks to the practical seminars, we have improved how we approach and communicate with potential clients,” says company spokesman Tom Heyner.

Since this first series of seminars, members of the Alca Mobil auto accessories team have participated in a refresher seminar. The company has also put the lessons it learned into practice and had a booth at Automechanika 2014 in Frankfurt am Main. As Tom Heyner says: “Nothing is more successful than success!"

Effective interactive seminars are just one aspect of IHK Ostbrandenburg’s work. Commenting on the services provided by the Network, Heike Trusch notes that her team offers general information and advice about European Member States and Third Countries as well as information and advice about world fairs. She also points to the specific seminars they organise on the Baltic States, Scandinavian Countries and Eastern European countries, as well as the company profiles that the team produces.