Boldly expanding to international markets

Envor Protech & Grow to Shanghai 2017

Envor Protech Oy is the leading biogas technology supplier in Finland, with over 20 years of experience and expertise in recycling and environmentally friendly business. The company has a very strong reference base in Finland, but has recently also delivered biogas facilities to e.g. Thailand and China. In August 2017, the company joined the Grow to Shanghai trip organized by Kasvun Roihu, Crowe Horwath, Techcode, Shanghai UDC Business Consulting Company, FinChi, Pivot5, Mistral Consulting and City of Jyväskylä.

For the past 20 years, high-quality technology has guaranteed Envor Protech Oy’s strong position in the Finnish market. In 2017, the company’s first global-scale project, focusing on the treatment of wood-based sludges and the production of biogas, was completed in Äänekoski in connection with the Metsä Group bioproduct mill, which further adds to the company’s credibility. However, since there is practically no more room for their business to grow in Finland, they will be heading towards international markets in the near future.

”We are now seriously aiming to expand our operations to foreign markets, because the Finnish market’s needs have pretty much been met. Some more facilities will, of course, be built in Finland in the coming years, but if we want to grow in a significant way as a company, we must look for opportunities outside Finland”, says Envor Protech Oy’s COB Mika Laine.

The opportunity to go on the Grow to Shanghai trip opened to Envor Protech Oy through an invitation, but the decision to grasp this opportunity was made very quickly. Earlier experiences with the Chinese market had taught them that the need to find a reliable partner – or several partners – plays a major role in expanding operations to a new market.

”Companies need to understand that China is such a large country that you need either several partners or, at the very least, one very large and global partner. Chinese globally operating partners may also open plenty of other opportunities for a growing company. For example, after the Grow to Shanghai trip we begun negotiations with a Chinese company regarding the delivery of a biogas facility in California, USA”, Laine describes his experiences of the Chinese market.

Today, being able to sell biogas plant projects in the international markets increasingly requires funding to build the plant, in addition to being able to provide top-notch biogas technology. This new development further highlights the importance of finding the right partners – the growth company must find partners that are able to invest in the project. According to Laine, finding potential investors and customers was thus Envor Protech Oy’s main goal for the Grow to Shanghai trip.

”We went on the trip with an open mind and having confidence in our technological expertise and references. For these situations, it is not really possible to create a specific plan – you just need to be ready for everything and see if there might be a partner that believes in what you have to tell and show. The same selling arguments work in China and Finland, so the key is to find a customer who really needs your product.”

During the Grow to Shanghai trip, Envor Protech Oy gained new information on the market, networks and concrete leads. After the trip, they began a test project with a large Chinese company that wants to find out whether Envor Protech Oy’s technology would be suitable for the treatment of by-products created in their production processes. Whether these leads and tests result in new projects will be seen later, but all in all the situation looks promising. For other companies that are interested in entering the Chinese market – or any international market – Mika Laine has one piece of advice, which has to do with courage.

”My message to all entrepreneurs is that they should just boldly start opening the gates to the Chinese market. In the end, business practices in China are much the same as in Finland, or any other country for that matter.”

About the writer

Reetta Tehomaa

In Kasvun Roihu my role is to take care of our company’s development, marketing and communication operations.