A UK executive training and coaching company pursues new growth in Central and Eastern Europe thanks to the Network.
Simon Chater of JODA Training Management and Personal Development in Suffolk, England was keen to expand his business into the promising markets of Bulgaria, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
Lacking contacts on the ground but keen to pursue his ambition, he got in touch with Mark Hofman at the Enterprise Europe Network East of England office, one of 600 Enterprise Europe Network branches worldwide giving SMEs free business support.
Hofman jumped into action, researching the markets and then setting up visits for the company to targeted cities where he arranged meetings with prospective business partners, including at an annual Network matchmaking event in the Czech city of Brno.
As part of the company mission, Network staff provided JODA Training in-country briefings and encouraged the company to shift its focus. Instead of targeting end-users the Network advised JODA to work through intermediaries and business consultancies to put themselves on the map and establish a local presence.
"Once we had set up a business model and market entry strategy for JODA in the Czech Republic, we were able to replicate it in Croatia and Bulgaria," explains Hofman.
Network staff in local offices also provided insights into their markets for JODA Training's services in the region. So far, the introductions arranged by the Network have led to five new business agreements in Croatia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
"Meeting potential business partners in person was crucial for our expansion into Central Europe. Throughout the region clients tend to buy from people they have met and with whom they feel they can build trusted and honest relationships," said Chater, adding: "The Enterprise Europe Network's matchmaking and networking events provide a platform for you to achieve this."