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How EFSI benefits SMEs in Europe - Unicredit case study: Frusack (Czech Republic), retail (grocery bags)

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Frusack is a Czech start-up that came about from the conviction and environmental sensitivities of two university buddies, offering an alternative to the plastic grocery bags that we use to carry fruit and vegetables.

The two founders, entrepreneurs Hana Němcová and Tereza Dvořáková, came up with the idea behind Frusack when they were students in Prague, frustrated by the absence of a good alternative to the plastic bags that kept accumulating in their house after every visit to the grocery store. “These bags have a lifetime of about…20 minutes. You carry the fruit and vegetables home and then immediately discard them” explains Hana, “we were convinced there had to be a better way to do that.”

Instead of the petroleum-based conventional plastic, Hana and Tereza turned to bioplastic, a product made from corn starch, to develop Frusack bags that are environmentally sound and prevent this one-time-use waste.

Frusack bioplastic bags are reusable and combine bright colours with funky design in order to appeal to a broad range of people, but also to raise visibility for the environmental concerns behind the product itself: “Environmental protection is mainly about awareness-raising” Tereza adds, “we want the bags to attract attention, we want people to ask about them, and we want people to realise the problem…”

In order to support the business at an early stage, Hana and Tereza needed financial support. “It’s very hard to find financing for a start-up”, Hana explains, “we were fortunate enough to find a business angel that helped with trial production, but to meet our increasing demand we had to secure more financing”. For this, they got a loan from Unicredit, backed by EIF under the Investment Plan for Europe. “Thanks to that support, we will be able to boost production and start accepting more orders”.

With increased production capacity, Frusack is growing to meet high demand from across the EU, as well as Canada, Australia and the USA. This is also good news for the local economy: “Most of our production takes place in the Czech Republic: the weaving, dyeing, sewing, cutting…with the exception of the fibre, everything else is done locally” Tereza explains.

Company: Frusack (Czech Republic)

Type of business: retail (grocery bags)

EIF financing: InnovFin SMEG, EFSI

Financial intermediary: Unicredit

For further information abiout EIF intermediaries in Czech Republic, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/cz

 

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