Enterprise Europe Network

All hands on deck

Posted: 01 Feb 2015

Danish entrepreneur Martin Dufresne is a man with a mission: to persuade homeowners in his country to invest in high-quality wooden patio decking made in Germany. After teaming up with a supplier found through the Enterprise Europe Network, he is building his business.

Wooden deck

When Dufresne decided to go into business for himself, the Enterprise Europe Network name kept popping up during his initial web research.

"I was happily surprised to discover there was a branch 15 minutes away, so I paid them a visit," says Dufresne, who had run a handful of ventures with partners but never before on his own.

That visit ended up being a giant leap towards getting the business off the ground. With almost 600 partner organisations in 54 countries, a Network expert is always available to help budding entrepreneurs pursue their dreams.

"We help them make their dreams a reality, through powerful tools like the Network's business matchmaking database," says Anders Skeem, Network international project consultant at Agro Business Park. He notes how he worked closely for some six months with the client - offering advice, building a profile for that database, assisting with Expressions of Interest and contacting the companies behind them, and so on.

"When drafting our client's profile for the Network's database, we initially struggled to describe completely which new business areas and opportunities he was interested in," recalls Skeem. "But we got there in the end. Indeed, this exercise helped him understand the sort of profiles abroad that he was seeking."

A response to the partner request came from the Network branch at the Industrie- und Handelskammer Erfurt in Germany, through Network expert Eva-Maria Nowak. She put Dufresne in touch with Reinü-Fefa, a medium-sized maker of patio floorboards and related products. The German firm was looking to develop internationally and find European wholesalers for its Reinü-Wood Decking. This product features 70% renewable raw materials (wood) and 30% polymers, meeting the highest quality and environmental requirements.

"We immediately hit it off," says Dufresne, "since they were not just seeking a distributor, but a real collaborator with technical know-how. Now I represent them in Denmark."

Three years after this collaboration began, Dufresne says that both companies are still cooperating well even though sales figures so far in Denmark for ReinüFEFA's wood decking have been lower than expected, due to competition.

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Sustainable Construction