I like to take action – and I don’t like to wait for other people to take action.
Owner of Market Select, Silkeborg
Helle Fuglevig is an example that it is possible to run a business on the large globalised markets on your own, working from home. She is an educated export engineer, and her company Market Select earns its living by creating contacts across borders between industrial manufacturers, subcontractors, agents and buyers. She operates as a kind of external export consultant for her clients.
“Half of my clients are Danish companies that want to get access to export markets in Europe or Latin America. The other half are companies in Eastern Europe, for example Estonia and Hungary, for whom I find partners in Denmark, Norway and Germany”, Helle Fuglevig says.
Many of the customers are industrial companies within the agro sector. “I can for example offer Danish producers of equipment for pig production contact to pork producers in foreign countries, when they are planning to expand the livestock”, she says. Some of the other customers are producers of for example metal constructions, construction material made of wood, IT, food or textiles. The principle is that Helle Fuglevig opens the door and through her language skills, business knowledge and her network creates the connections between future partners.
The fact that many of the customers ask for contacts in Latin America is because Helle Fuglevig speaks Spanish and has a special relationship to especially Mexico, but also Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru, where she has been involved in several development projects. The relationship to Estonia is due to her former job, where she solved tasks for the Estonian Chamber of Commerce. As other specialists, who start up their own business, she has taken her professional network with her.
Despite the global crisis, Latin America’s moderate growing economies are providing Helle Fuglevig with plenty of work – which is expected to grow even more in the future. However, she has no plans on employing anyone. That is because it is her special competence that customers want. Instead, she has created a network of partners in France, Estonia and Hungary, which can take care of the local correspondence.
Helle Fuglevig is often the only woman at meetings and travels – recently, she was the only woman amongst 19 Estonian, Danes and Norwegian at a matchmaking event on the Estonian embassy in Denmark. However, this is not something she regards as being a negative thing. “On the contrary, I think that I’m sometimes able to open more doors, because I’m a woman and because people get a bit impressed”, she says.
In private, Helle Fuglevig is a single mother with three young kids and as a result she does not have any plans about moving her business from home so far. She works in the day time until the kids come home, and in the evening she sits at her desk again and takes care of for example overseas contacts.
“With planning and hard work in relation to my overseas network, I can restrict the overseas travel to once a year, and my travels to Estonia and Hungary only takes three days at a time. I plan them so that it’s when the children are with their father, because I don’t make use of any kind of babysitter. Most of my business takes place over the phone or on the computer, so the children do not really notice, that I work globally”, she states.