“We offer high-quality products for various niche markets. Added to this is our extensive expertise,” says Managing Director Günther Elkuch about their recipe for success. These factors certainly lay the foundations for Ludwig Elkuch AG to operate on all continents. However, to conquer the international market, there are some hurdles to overcome when exporting. And these can be very different depending on the country, as Günther Elkuch describes: “Target markets usually have different regulations, standards or tariff restrictions. Setting up your own distribution structure abroad is also different in every country. It requires detailed clarifications at the beginning of each export project.” According to Ludwig Elkuch AG’s Managing Director, an additional challenge comes in the form of the strong franc, which has been driving down the pricing level, especially in the last three years.
Support from S-GE
The Liechtenstein-based company cannot be stopped by these challenges; on the contrary, Ludwig Elkuch AG operates on all continents with its services and is continuing its course of expansion: markets such as Japan, Korea and China are to follow. In order to overcome the mentioned challenges as well as the linguistic and cultural barriers, the company works together with the export promoter Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE). “We’ve already had S-GE prepare market analyses and have contacted potential new customers. We also benefit from the online customs database, where we can retrieve information concerning global tariff and non-tariff trade barriers,” says Günther Elkuch. “The first market we’re opening up together is Japan,” he notes: “The working relationship with S-GE is extremely professional and solution-focused. We’ve achieved our goals so far, and we hope to continue to be successful together.”
Export check worth 10,000 Swiss francs
In addition to the support of S-GE, Ludwig Elkuch AG has also benefited from the Principality of Liechtenstein’s own funding instruments. Each year, the Department of Economics awards 30 SMEs with export and innovation checks worth 10,000 Swiss francs each. The innovation checks allow companies to source innovation from research centers. Companies can redeem the export check with S-GE and receive services, whether in-depth consultation and support in a new market or participation in a Swiss Pavilion.
Ludwig Elkuch AG benefited from an export check for the first time in 2017; it appreciates this financial support and the assistance of S-GE: “Such funding instruments certainly help SMEs to become, to be, and to remain globally successful in the marketplace. Without its own global structure, a company also needs a partner like S-GE, who offers support in the form of local knowledge and, together with the global branch offices, the Swiss Business Hubs, provides contacts in order to gain a foothold in new markets.” The export strategy is central to the company, which has existed since 1949. “Over the past 69 years, we have become the largest steel service provider in the Principality of Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Our core competences lie in the construction of containers, apparatuses, plants and machines. The global growth strategy makes a significant contribution to safeguarding our location in Bendern and to its growth,” says Günther Elkuch, who intends to continue writing the company's success story with successful export projects.
Export and innovation checks
The Principality of Liechtenstein’s Office of Economic Affairs will again award 30 export and innovation checks to SMEs in 2018. They enable companies to use services provided by Switzerland Global Enterprise and research institutes. The checks are worth 10,000 Swiss francs each.
Information and registration at www.innovation-standort.li