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Motrogeanu Vlad Stefan II: family first

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What started with a gift from a friend became a long-time job. “A friend gave me a candle maker machine. At the time it seemed a bit random…but I made a few candles and before I knew it, I found myself with a long list of customers,” says Vlad Stefan, founder of Motrogeanu Vlad Stefan II, a company that makes and sells candles in Hideaga, in northern Romania. “I was receiving more orders than I could handle with my single candle-maker, so I bought more equipment, hired a handful of seasonal workers and ended up with a stable income that allows me to provide for my family.”

“I embraced the opportunity to be self-employed with open arms. I had always wanted to stand on my own two feet and take care of my family”, says Vlad. “I wouldn’t say that I am passionate about candle making, but I am passionate about providing for my daughters,” he explains, “And setting up my own company has allowed me to discover different aspects of running a business that I enjoy, such as sales and networking. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to many different countries in search of customers and suppliers. For example, last week I was in Poland to get glass, plastic and vessels,” he adds, “Had it not been for my kids, I wouldn’t have jumped into this entrepreneurial adventure and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to live all of these experiences,” adds Vlad.

Entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster, but there is one significant variable that the entrepreneur is under pressure to manage well – profit. “Starting a company is hard, but maintaining it is even harder. With the privatisation wave, people’s purchasing power increased, so I was very successful at the beginning. But as soon as the economy slows down a little bit, sales plunge,” he explains. “You need to be prepared for that and be resilient and determined. Good times will come again but you need to have survived and be ready to respond to a surge in demand at any point.”

To deal with these fluctuations in demand, Vlad sought to diversify the business. Apart from candles, Vlad decided to also trade in paraffin. Paraffin is necessary to make candles, so he was familiar with the product, but now he started to sell it to other industries that also need it, such as cosmetics and medical products. Thanks to an EU-guaranteed loan from Patria Bank, backed by the EIF, “I was able to purchase paraffin in bulk, which was more cost-effective in the long term,” says Vlad. “The whole process was very simple and Patria Bank offered me a loan with no collateral and on very favourable terms.” This diversification now allows Vlad to have more stability in his business, and ultimately, puts him in a better position to take care of his family.

Company: Motrogeanu Vlad Stefan II (Romania)

Type of business: retail, candle-making

EIF financing: EaSI Guarantee Financial Instrument

Financial intermediary: Patria Bank

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Austria, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/ro/index.htm

 

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