Advancing into the VIP Segment

Mihai Bostan from Chișinău, who holds an MBA, comes from modest roots. Around ten years ago, he went into business for himself in the booming construction industry. His company, M&M Comert, began supplying building supply centres with domestic products. But the ambitious young entrepreneur had his sights set much higher. In 2010 he happened upon an article about the Manager Training Programme, which has turned out to be the greatest driver behind his business so far, he says.

Chișinău. When asked why he applied for the programme, the 37-year-old says, “I wanted to go international.” He has a hard time identifying the one thing about the MP that has helped him the most. “I think it is really the combination of everything.” In his own words, the boss of M&M Comert adds that he initially profited the most from the contacts and the excellent reputation of the programme.

Cedima GmbH, a company based in Celle that manufactures tools and machines for the construction industry, was his first German business partner. Bostan found it relatively easy to convince the firm from Lower Saxony that he would be an effective partner, though at the time he had no international experience under his belt. “I was a completely unknown quantity, really. I think the programme’s excellent reputation was the reason people trusted me anyway,” he says. Training has provided him with the know-how he needs and enough self-assurance to approach his potential business partners with confidence.

Bostan is the first address in Chișinău for anyone looking to build with made-in-Germany quality. “Discounters just don’t fit our business philosophy. We work in the VIP segment,” Bostan reports. His latest project is a 400m² showroom that features all the products available to business customers, together worth over 400,000 euros. The range features products from Cedima, Projahn in Diezenbach and Endress, a company based in Bempflingen that makes aggregates for generating electricity. Bostan also operates a service centre for all the products he offers. “All my employees train in Germany,” he says. The personal business contacts developed there offer additional advantages, as they increase a sense of identification with the brands, according to Bostan.

The Moldovan entrepreneur works to continually expand his portfolio of German brand-name products. On average he has become the official dealer for one new business partner every year for the past seven years, to very positive effect. Since participating in the MP in 2010, he has increased turnover by 75 percent annually.

The current strained political and economic climate in his homeland has also had a palpable effect on his business, he reports. But the construction branch still numbers among the most important economic drivers with double-digit annual growth, thanks in no small part to infrastructure projects funded by the EU. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is currently financing a large project to the tune of 60 million euros to modernize the water supply system in Chișinău. Bostan succeeded in winning the bid for the project in a public call for tenders and is supplying joint cutters from Cedima and Endress.

Bostan has plans to conquer more foreign markets in the future. M&M Comert will soon be the official dealer for Endress in neighbouring Romania and for Projahn in Ukraine. Expanding the “Invent Moldova” alumni organisation, of which he is both the chairman and founding member, is near and dear to Bostan’s heart. He volunteers to organise international events and business forums, and enjoys sharing the knowledge he has gathered on how to do business with Germany. “I want to do my best to ensure that everyone here reaps the same benefits from the MP as I have,” he says.