When Italian entrepreneurs Cristina and Irma Tolin needed high quality products for their home textile business, the Enterprise Europe Network helped them find exclusive suppliers in Portugal.
Tolin Arredamento, a family run SME in the north west of Italy specialises in selling exclusive home textiles to the Italian market. Irma Tolin, owner of the company, and her daughter Cristina were looking for new manufacturers of products to enhance their range. They were particularly keen to source products in Portugal, which was renowned for its tradition of producing high quality textiles.
Despite their efforts to track down the perfect partner at international trade fairs, the quest had not been successful. This is when they enlisted the help of the Enterprise Europe Network branch at the Turin Chamber of Commerce.
The Enterprise Europe Network in Italy suggested that they joined the Mission for Growth event in Portugal. The event, spearheaded by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, was designed to help EU companies and in particular SMEs to develop their activities within the EU and abroad. To prepare the event, the Italian network colleagues first reached out to their network counterparts at Agência de Inovação (ADI) in Portugal for help with detailed information of the Tolin's needs.
ADI immediately went about targeting suppliers that could respond to their Tolin's specific requirements and was contacted by Rodrilinea, a Portuguese SME producing high quality home textiles and looking for new markets. Rodrilinea was delighted to be able to participate in the Mission for Growth event where it had the opportunity to meet companies from across the world, including Tolin Arrendamento. The companies' interests were a clear match and they decided to cooperate right away, signing cooperation statements on the spot at the Mission for Growth matchmaking event.
The Tolins have already seen a boost in sales as the exclusive Italian distributor of the Portuguese-made tablecloths, towels and baby linens. "The style of these companies is very close to the Italian taste," says Irma. "That appeals to our demanding customers."