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How EFSI benefits SMEs in Europe - KfW Bankengruppe case study: Optik Fuhr (Germany), Optical centre

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In Neuwied, a small town located in the north of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, the optical centre Optiker Fuhr has become part of the landscape. For the past 40 years, the Strobl family, first the parents and now their son Sebastian, have been offering professional and attentive service to customers in need of new glasses.

Sebastian explains that taking over his parents’ optical centre was long-planned: “It was always clear that I would take over my parents’ business at some point, even if I have to admit that I thought about becoming a cook before”, says Sebastian laughing. “But I did not want to have to work irregular hours.” Eventually Sebastian followed the training to become a certified optician, and undertook a traineeship at another eye-care centre. In 2009, he joined his parents in the family business before taking over in 2015.

In order to be able to buy the company from his parents, Sebastian sought additional financing from his local bank, part of the German KfW Banking Group’s network of banks. “It was rather easy to obtain the loan; my overall experience was very positive, especially since the bank already knew the business and its turnover”, explains Sebastian. This loan, which was made possible by 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, thus directly helped Sebastian to buy and take over his parents’ business.

Today, Sebastian is hoping his optical centre will continue to be as successful as it has been in the past: “I am not planning to make major changes. The business is going pretty well, so why would I make any changes to a well-rounded affair?”

Company: Optik Fuhr (Germany)

Type of business: Optical centre

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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