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Advices on internationalization from entrepreneurs who have succeeded abroad

The Magurele Science Park team participated in the third edition of the Regional Business Summit event organized in Bucharest. The conference brought together regional entrepreneurs and leaders of multinational companies with experience in internationalizing companies to the discussion table.

A main idea from the event was that it takes a good strategy, good teams, and networking for a business to successfully cross borders.

Romanian and regional entrepreneurs who have expanded their business at the regional or international level, representatives of multinational companies, and investors attended the summit’s debates.

Radu Georgescu, the chairman of the SeedBlink board, spoke about the branding of Central and Eastern Europe: “The biggest challenge in the expansion of companies from the region outside the borders is related to the perception, the brand image that Eastern Europe has: it is riskier, cheaper, which is not true at all. We have to get over this idea, that if products from Eastern Europe are cheaper, then they are even lower in quality, something that can be easily overcome with a good product.”

Andrei Ursulescu, CEO of Scandia Food, spoke about expansion through acquisitions or organic expansion: “Expansion through mergers and acquisitions can represent a shortcut, but it is much more risky. The fact that you are going to a new country, with new legislation, with new people, with a new language, with a new culture, with new consumption habits. Everything is new and you have to learn quickly and be sure of what you want to achieve. Even if you could buy a good company, there is still the risk of failure. Integration is a much more important process than the acquisition itself.”

The main ideas about internationalization also useful for entrepreneurs from the Magurele Science Park community:

Radu Georgescu, chairman of the board, SeedBlink

► The biggest challenge in the expansion of companies from the region outside the borders is related to the perception, the brand image that Eastern Europe has: it is riskier, cheaper, which is not true at all. We have to get over this idea, that if products from Eastern Europe are cheaper, then they are even lower in quality, something that can be easily overcome with a good product.

► We started in Romania, and half a year later, we established offices in Bulgaria. We acquired the Dutch company, and three years later we became a fully European entity.

► In the end, it all boils down to understanding from the start what your main market is and focusing on it. Then see if you expand and how you do it. Every company should have a PowerPoint that specifies the business plans for the next 10 years.

Andrei Ursulescu, CEO, Scandia Food

► We are trying to export our products through different channels and partnerships with European players. Sometimes it is quite difficult, because each market has its own particularities.

► Let’s talk about the elephant in the room-expansion through mergers and acquisitions. While it may seem like a shortcut, it’s a path fraught with risks. You’re venturing into a new country, with new legislation, new people, a new language, a new culture, and new consumption habits. It’s a whole new world, and you need to adapt quickly and be crystal clear about your goals. Even if you manage to acquire a good company, there’s still a risk of failure. That’s why strategic planning and risk assessment are crucial. Integration is a much more important process than the acquisition itself.

► Here’s a lesson we’ve learned the hard way-always prepare for the worst. When you’re venturing into a new market, it’s essential to build thousands of scenarios about what you’ll do on the first day after the purchase. This level of preparation will help you navigate through any unforeseen circumstances and ensure a smoother transition.

Bogdan Colceriu, founder & CEO, Frisbo

► There is a rather significant risk that you assume when you go to a new country because you have to have money and allocate time to integrate the business, and for us, time and money are like oxygen.

► We used our client portfolio and tried to expand through them. Basically, we went to each country, opened operations there, started selling to customers in that country, and then moved with them to a new geographic area and started operations there. It was a combination of opportunity and strategy, and we naturally went to Western Europe.

► We used existing customers as an anchor for further expansions. Once you have a client in a country, you have a case study, experience, etc.

► Over time, we tried all kinds of strategies to enter other markets. The most successful was, by far, the association with an authority in the field.

#internationalization #eencanhelp

Claudiu Vrînceanu – EEN adviser

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