Europe is potentially one of the most profitable markets in the world for international entrepreneurs. At the same time, it is also a very complex, competitive and dynamic market. Exporters, who are eager to access the European Union (EU) market, must prepare themselves carefully and thoroughly.

The Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) does what its name suggests - it assists entrepreneurs in developing countries in selling to markets in Europe. The center was founded in 1971, is an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is financed by the Dutch government.

To help potential exporters to enter the European market or to strengthen an already present export position, the CBI has started a new Export Coaching Program for Coatings. This new program is meant for ambitious manufacturers and exporters in the coatings sector who are eager to start or expand their export activities in the EU.

The following products and services fall within the scope of the program: raw materials for paints, toll manufacturing services and paints for all market sectors such as architectural, industrial etc.

The program is available to companies that meet certain criteria, like having between 25 to 500 employees, having local ownership of at least 51%, are able to communicate in English, have compliance or willingness to comply with EU market requirements and several more. For the complete information details, visit

The Program

Stage 1: Pre-selection – May-June 2008
Based on the incoming application forms, a CBI consultant makes a pre-selection of companies that meet the general admission criteria and are eligible for participation.

Stage 2: Technical support – May 2008-May 2009
Once a company has been pre-selected, a CBI consultant will visit to carry out a so-called export audit and to further evaluate crucial factors such as production facilities, production capacity, organization details, price etc.

This visit, which typically takes one or two days, will result in an action plan describing problems, required measures and deadlines. While this plan is being implemented, the CBI will render long distance assistance and coaching. During this stage, the selection of potential participants can be further narrowed down on the basis of the consultants findings and the CBI will definitely determine whether (and at which speed) the candidate should go through the program.

Stage 3: Export marketing training – November 24th-28th, 2009
In the third stage, participants are invited to a so-called EXPRO seminar from November 24th-28th, 2009, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The seminar consists of lectures, discussions, case studies and practical assignments in the areas of export marketing, management and sector specific topics.

Stage 4: Access to the market – March 2009-2014
Supported by the CBI, the candidates will be encouraged to attend the major EU trade fairs in this sector. The CBI will provide publicity and invitations through mailings and telemarketing, a briefing prior to the fair about the latest market developments, advice on the best market approach, professional assistance in preparing presentations and hands-on consultancy during the fair.

Stage 5: Consolidation
In the year following each participation the CBI will help the participants solidify and expand business contacts.


As far as cost is concerned, since the CBI is a development organization operating in a non-commercial market, it does not require participants to cover all costs. However, once the CBI has determined a company to be suitable for enrollment (during stage 2), a non-refundable participation fee of EURO 1,000.00 will be collected. Apart from this registration fee, participants do not need to pay for CBI services.

International travel expenses incurred by participants attending trainings in Europe may be partially reimbursed. If the CBI arranges lodging, transportation and meals, participants will not be charged. This arrangement also applies if the CBI conducts training activities in the respective regions. Furthermore, regular expenses made by the CBI during the program are also not charged to participants but other expenses not mentioned here must be covered by the participants.

For further information about the CBI, the Export Coaching Program for Paints and Coatings or to download an application form, you may visit On the site one can also check whether a particular country is qualified for program entry.