The year 2020 has been a challenging one for SMEs in Romania and across the world. Measures introduced worldwide to rein in the coronavirus had knock-on effects on small businesses, many of which are concentrated in the service industry – among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Others fared better, reacting quickly to sudden changes while building resilience into their practices.
In the whirlwind of economic shocks, software development and e-commerce stood out as agile responses to shifting consumer behaviour, and ones that our latest Blue Ribbon companies in Romania – tech company Tremend and online retailer Vivre Deco – harnessed in order to stay afloat. The EBRD has stood ready to help.
At the helm of the digital revolution
During the past decade, Tremend has built its name as a frontrunner in the software field. One of the fastest growing technology companies in Romania, it provides tailored end-to-end solutions for businesses across a wide range of areas, spanning from e-commerce to artificial intelligence. Tremend counts both private and public entities in its client portfolio, from US-based start-up companies to multinational organisations specialising in banking, finance, professional and medical services.
The company’s recent projects firmly cement its identity as a technology disruptor. Over 700 major projects delivered across four continents helped more than 60 million end users employ agile practices with state-of-the-art technology. A regional leader, Tremend brought home the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 title several years in a row and the Impact Star Award in 2020 –reserved only for the most dedicated innovators in their field.
With help from the EBRD, Tremend is currently receiving business advisory support from a local consultant in order to implement International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Despite the economic slough triggered by the pandemic, Tremend expects an estimated 25 per cent increase in sales compared with 2019, as digitalisation and software services are needed more than ever.
“The EBRD is one of our most important partners,” says Marius Hanganu, Tremend’s CEO. “It is an honour to join the Bank’s Blue Ribbon global network of best performing small enterprises – a true recognition of our team’s commitment to innovation and professionalism.”
And in true spirit of the Blue Ribbon member network, Tremend created a new mobile application for Vivre Deco, Romania’s second company to join Blue Ribbon in 2020.
Outpacing the coronavirus
Vivre’s journey started a few years back when its founder and CEO, Monica Cadogan, brought her vision of building a timeless home and decor brand to life.
Today, Vivre is a flagship home decor online retailer in Central and Eastern Europe. The company boasts more than 150,000 furniture items and accessories, featuring over 1,000 international brands, all available on their website and mobile applications.
When the coronavirus hit, many players in the home decor market found themselves in the foothills of digitalisation while Vivre had already exploited its existing supply chain and e-commerce model to scale the business in record time. The company also introduced a marketplace to become a one-stop shop for other Romanian producers. Sales registered a 40 per cent increase in the first half of 2020 compared with 2019, and the expectations for year-end figures are even higher.
Vivre benefitted from business advice jointly supported by the EBRD and the European Union under Horizon 2020. A consultant helped the decor company build a new visual identity and conduct a review of its commercial policy and supply chain.
Additional support through a local consultancy project in IFRS helped Vivre to facilitate the sourcing of capital on a global scale and enable potential investors and other market participants to make informed economic decisions.
Today, Monica continues to build her company’s organisational capacity. A local advisory project under the Women in Business programme in Romania and supported by the EBRD’s Small Business Impact Fund (Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China, and the USA) will start in January 2021.
“Vivre joining the Blue Ribbon family is a remarkable achievement for our company. It is also a marker of our team’s efforts, and the unique way in which we positioned the company through technology and investment. E-commerce is experiencing a boom during the pandemic. We will use the opportunities of the Blue Ribbon programme to strengthen our company and to achieve our sustainable development goals”, says Monica.