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Dutch entrepreneur lives the European dream
Ruud Minnebraueker can’t stop looking for new business ideas. After 22 years working in local government as an IT technician in the Netherlands, he is now showing his true entrepreneurial spirit – in Sweden. What started with a dream of owning a holiday home to escape the city is set to grow into a nationwide franchise business.
The holiday home turned out to be the first step along the road to a profitable business venture. “We didn’t plan it that way, but after travelling back and forth to Sweden for holidays for three years, my wife and I decided we wanted to move to Sweden permanently. We went the classic tourist-cum-migrant worker route and bought a guest house in the Swedish countryside with a charming restaurant,” says Ruud.
Ruud’s theory is that most people who decide to move to the country where they have been tourists will look for jobs in the tourism sector when setting up a business. And that’s exactly what he did.
“It was a great experience and a lot of work.” Some years later, after getting to know Swedish society better, Ruud had an even better idea: “I noticed that there were very few shops specialised in selling ink for printers in Sweden. On the Internet the competition was – and is – fierce, but specialist local shops selling ink and providing IT knowhow were in short supply – that was my business idea.”
The idea has turned into a successful business venture. After starting with one shop in a small village, Ruud, his family and his business partner have now moved to Linköping in Sweden where their shop “Refillbutiken” is flourishing.
But the story doesn’t stop there. Ruud and his business partner recently went to the Netherlands to participate in “Nordic Working”, a job and information fair organised by EURES in Assen, the Netherlands, in May 2011. “We want to expand this concept further and open more shops in other parts of Sweden. So we’re looking for the right people who would be interested in starting a new franchise business. From Nordic Working we already have a few names of people to contact. We want to find someone who is looking to make the move to a new country and who is willing to skip one step in the integration process – namely running a hotel, restaurant or a camp site,” says Ruud with a smile.
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