Eastern Promise 08/01/2009
Bruno Texeira

Bruno Texeira takes part in European Social Fund business training project and sets up consultancy firm for international trade.

Meet Bruno Texeira

Porto in Portugal has been a centre of international commerce for centuries and Bruno Texeira is continuing his hometown’s tradition. The young entrepreneur set up a consultancy business called Trading EuroPacific in early 2008 to help Portuguese and Asian companies work together.

He helps firms to find in Asia the distributors, suppliers and agents that they need to access these new markets and reduce their costs. “The cultural differences between the EU and Asia make it difficult for companies to get access to each others’ markets,” says the 29-year-old. “I decided to set up a business to bridge both continents.”

Accessing Asia

His company, Trading Europe Pacific (TEP consulting) works with Portuguese companies that want to sell to Asian markets and vice-versa, or else find manufacturers and control quality of production. He works with a network across seven Asian countries – Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines: “We cover 50% of the world population.”

He spotted the niche for his business in 2006 whilst doing a work placement in the Portuguese Embassy in Jakarta in Indonesia as part of the ‘Network Contacto’ training programme co-funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund.

Gaining experience

The programme, provided by the Portuguese Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEP), consisted of three months of initial training in the Department of Commerce in Portugal, followed by six months in Indonesia. During his time there, Bruno prepared a report on the Indonesian market and helped Portuguese companies penetrate the market there.

The experience has proved vital to Bruno in the work he now does. “The placement was very good for contacts,” he says. “I met decision-makers and influential people. I found out more about the region and the opportunities in the Indonesian market for European companies.

“Even before I went to Indonesia I was thinking of starting a business in Asia,” adds Bruno.

“As a child I was always fascinated by the area. I loved to read about the culture, wildlife, everything,” he explains. He learnt more about the business potential of Asia whilst studying economics and marketing at university. ”Asia contains almost 50% of the world’s population. It is the factory of the world and provides much of the raw material,” he says.

Ambition and drive

After returning from his stint in Indonesia, he worked in the marketing department of a telecommunications company. However, he had always wanted to run his own company and, together with a partner he had met in Indonesia, he began to plan how to use their knowledge of Asian markets and local contacts to start a business.

Trading EuroPacific was established in January 2008. “We started to make plans about a year before that.” Although it is early days, Bruno says that the reception has been positive so far and business is doing well.

The only major problem he has had so far is his age. “When people think of a consultant for big companies they are not expecting a young person to come and give them advice,” he says. “It takes a while to convince them. After I show my knowledge and connections they are impressed, but in the beginning it’s difficult.”

He now counts several large companies as clients and has a network of partners in Asian countries. ”We’re looking to develop long-term relationships with [Portuguese companies] and supervise their markets in Asia.”

Accessing opportunities

Bruno gives an example of one of his clients – a Portuguese textile manufacturer. “The company cannot produce all the accessories it needs here. We’re connecting it with Asian companies with specific know-how and production capacity,” he says. “This will enable it to diversify their range of products.”

Another company he works with is a Portuguese manufacturer of large-scale metal working machines. He is helping it to find companies to sell their products to. “There are plenty of opportunities in Asia, but it’s very hard for companies to get into Asian markets,” he says. “They need someone who can give them support and advice.”

Planning ahead

For the future, he aims to expand his operations to other European countries. “I’d like to open an office in Barcelona. Spain would be the first step.”

He is also trying to enter India and has had enquiries from Brazilian and Mexican companies wanting to do business in Asia. However, he wants to get the business firmly established before expansion. “We want to wait until we’re stronger in Portugal before we move to other countries. It’s a step-by-step process.”

His other wish is to have a bit more free time. “I’m working really hard at the moment. My weekends tend to disappear,” he adds. “I ‘d like to be able to play more sports, spend time with my girlfriend and in nature.”