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You are looking for a business partner, like a supplier or a producer, for your import or export business. You can try and find one yourself, or you can collaborate with a trade agent.
Finding business partnersThere are several ways to get in touch with potential 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?
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
Collaboration with a trade agentYou can also opt to collaborate with an agent, who will mediate between you and the supplier or producer of the goods. In return, he receives a percentage of the turnover; this is called a commission.
Be aware of cultural differencesBe aware of cultural differences between your country of origin and your export country. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency landeninformatie (in Dutch) lists the chief do’s and don’ts per country.