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How EFSI benefits SMEs in Europe - KfW Bankengruppe case study: Klassische Uhren Jost (Germany), Watchmaker shop

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When Michael Georg Jost completed his training as a watchmaker in 2007, he could not have imagined the entrepreneurial adventure that lay ahead, which eventually resulted in him taking over his mentor’s watchmaker shop in 2015.

Recently re-opened by Georg under the name ‘Klassische Uhren Jost’, the shop used to belong to Joachim Reimer, a watchmaker himself, who took Georg under his wing and ultimately proposed to Georg to take over the business and its existing clientele. “I have always wanted to be self-employed”, recalls Georg. “Joachim – we have become close friends over the years – gave me this chance.”

Georg has specialised in the repair of old watches only; he proudly underlines that “there is hardly anyone who does that nowadays.” Georg is indeed clear-sighted when it comes to market conditions: “there is too much competition in the new watches business. The repair of old watches can still be considered as a market niche.”

To be able to engage in this adventure, Georg needed financial support to buy the leasehold, as well as to modernise the entire repair shop and replace various tools. At that time however, he was not in a comfortable situation as he “had just bought a house for [his] family so [he] did not really have any money left.” Georg turned to his bank and was quickly offered a loan through the German KfW Banking Group’s network of banks. In retrospect, Georg is not sure how we would have raised the money otherwise: “I do not think I would have asked another bank, as I am used to this bank. I could have asked my family but I prefer to be more financially independent.”

Eventually, thanks to the joint backing of EIF and the Investment Plan for Europe, the EU initiative aiming at generating new investments in Europe through the support of small and medium-sized enterprises, Georg was able to buy the equipment he needed in order to remain competitive in the watchmaker market.

Today, Georg’s business attracts tourists’ attention and welcomes clients from all over Germany, but also from Luxembourg and Austria. He has no intention of stopping his business’ development here. “When my business is more successful and I have the necessary financial capacity, I would like my wife to participate in this adventure with me.” For the future, he dreams of going beyond watch repair and making a watch of his own: “I have so many pieces of watches that are just lying around in the shop. But I would like to create something on my own, something distinct and unique for my clients.”

Company: Klassische Uhren Jost (Germany)

Type of business: Watchmaker shop

EIF financing: COSME LGF, EFSI

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Germany, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/de

 

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