There are several ways to get in touch with business partners. It may help to compose a profile before you start looking, asking yourself questions like: Do I want a partner who invests money?, What type of skills should my partner possess?, and Do I want to do business with a large or a small company?
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Finding business partners abroad
- Check the landeninformatie (country information, in Dutch), and get specific tips for finding customers and business partners.
- Get information from agents or contacts of colleagues operating in the same sector.
- Seek advice from advisors at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.
- Get in touch with the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). They offer, among other things, access to a database of business partners, carrying profiles of thousands of companies from some 60 countries. You can also fill out your own profile.
- Register with the International Business Platform (IBP). They offer matchmaking facilities, a billboard, and specialist advice. The IBP is an initiative of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK).
- Visit international trade shows (see f.i. http://www.auma.de/en/Messedatenbank/Seiten/Default.aspx or http://www.expodatabase.com/) and get in touch with potential customers. The Enterprise Europe Network organizes matchmaking events at international trade shows.
- Take part in a trade mission (in Dutch).
- International organisations like the EU or WMF are often looking for suppliers; find out if you might offer your services.
- Ask the foreign network (buitenlandnetwerk, in Dutch) for support. The network can help you find your feet in international trade, investments, research, and collaboration.
- Make use of the services provided by the Centre for Improvement of Import from developing countries. The Centre connects businesses from developing countries with potential European business partners.
Set up a foreign branchAnother option is setting up a foreign branch of your company. This will simplify matters greatly: you won’t have to make special arrangements for deliveries and payments of your products. But it will take up more of your time, naturally. It will also mean higher costs.