Czech Out Element 119's Success
Element 119 achieved success in the Czech Republic with the help of the U.S. Commercial Service, the Small Business Administration, and the Rural Export Center.
Element 119 makes System X, professional ceramic paint coating products in Thomaston, Connecticut. The company has distributors in 35 countries throughout the world including UAE, India, the Middle East, and Australia. Element 119 was looking to increase its international sales for its automotive, aerospace, and marine tech product lines.
In August of 2020, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Connecticut office advised Element 119 about the Rural Export Center (REC) and their market research abilities and suggested they connect with their local trade specialist for further support in this area. Element 119 reached out to Commercial Service (CS) Middletown Trade Specialist Melissa Grosso, who has worked with them extensively on international expansion. Melissa Grosso met with Element 119 and provided further detail about the resources available through the REC and how they could leverage SBA funding to help defray the cost of the comprehensive research reports.
In September of 2020, Element 119’s Dave Bertnag met with the REC (Fargo, ND) and CS Middletown, Connecticut to learn more about market entry assistance through the Rural Export Center. With the goal of expanding to other ideal markets, Element 119 chose to conduct a RAISE Research project including a Matrix and a 3 Country Report. One of the countries researched was the Czech Republic.
During the research process, industry-specific in-country specialists were consulted regarding potential opportunities for Element 119 in the Czech Republic. The U.S. Commercial Specialist ranked opportunities a 7/8 out of 10. The REC ranked the Czech Republic 13th in the world for potential opportunities and found 16 potential partners in the country. Armed with this knowledge and data, Element 119 began reaching out to the Czech companies included in the report in the Fall of 2021. One of the leads led to the signing of a car detail shop interested in using the product and potentially helping to distribute in country. The detail shop is Element 119’s first sale in the market and has netted $10,000 in sales as of August 2022!
To assist with further distribution in the Czech Republic, Element 119 reached out to CS Connecticut Trade Specialist Jacqui Torcellini, who arranged an introductory meeting with the Commercial Specialist at CS Prague. CS Prague recommended moving forward with an Initial Market Check (IMC) to confirm interest in the marketplace for their products. The IMC was completed June 29, 2022 and shared with the client. CS Prague is in the process of scheduling a follow-up meeting with Trieste, a major distributor in the market who has indicated their interest in becoming a distributor for Element 119 in the Czech Republic.
Element 119 found the research to be great assets to the company. Further, the research was customized to meet Element 119’s goal and was all in one report.
Dave stated that the RAISE report, “is a great asset to our small company saving us a lot of time and more importantly provide all the information in one place. Further, the professionalism, response, and details provided by RAISE and our Connecticut Trade partners is truly a great asset to small businesses. Lastly, the report is a huge help to get us into a marketplace we are not in right now and has allowed us to explore new markets with little cost and risk.”
Element 119 anticipates continuing sales in the market through these new relationships built with the support of the U.S. Commercial Service. It looks forward to future relationships as they expand its international base.