Yannick (now 22) and Eline (now 20) Jaspers took over the company Percon in the summer of 2015. Leasing, selling and restoring trailers: they go about it with a lot of passion. Still, it became clear that gaining the confidence of their clients wasn’t a walk in the park for two twenty-somethings. So, they sought and found support with Road to Growth, a guidance track of UNIZO, Graydon and Antwerp Management School.
Entrepreneurship is something Yannick and Eline grew up with: their father is the manager of container production company Jaspers nv. However, brother and sister didn’t feel like simply following into his footsteps. By taking over the trailer company Percon and expanding it through a merger with "Aanhangwagen Erik" and "Kabako", a company specialized in making sails, netting mesh and lettering, they proved they could truly stand on their own two feet.
"Because we’re so young, we don’t exactly inspire confidence. In that respect, we could use any help we could get.”
But as a young enterprise in full growth they faced a number of obstacles, like convincing new customers. Eline: “Security, for example, is a big deal for us, but we had a hard time communicating this. Because we’re so young, we don’t exactly inspire confidence. In that respect, we could use any help we could get.”
And that help came from a rather unexpected quarter. Yannick: “Thanks to a gimmick with a pool container I came up with for my sister’s birthday, we were picked up by a VTM news broadcast. A lot of reactions followed, including a proposal from UNIZO to participate in the Road to Growth guidance program. We thought we should give it a shot.”
Through Road to Growth we mapped out how our company is structured and what we want to achieve. Based on this, we received strategic advice and concrete tips on how to make improvements so our company would become more marketable. From perfecting the website to paving the dirt road leading to our office. That’s what’s occupying us right now.”
The targeted and personal approach of UNIZO was a positive surprise to the two. Yannick: “At first, we more or less expected them to come and read to us from some manual. But that idea seemed to be completely off-key.” Eline: “We felt very supported. After the Road of Growth track, we can still count on the project group. Whenever you have a question or problem, they look for an appropriate answer or follow-up course.
"At first, we more or less expected them to come and read to us from some manual. But that idea seemed to be completely off-key.”
The most important thing the two take away from Road to Growth? “Confidence. We mostly learned that you need to be very sure about yourself and your product. You need to stand strong. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
Would they recommend Road to Growth to other young entrepreneurs? “Yes, definitely. The guidance taught us how to handle clients, how you correctly promote your product and how you communicate about it effectively”, says Yannick. “It’s something every young entrepreneur can benefit from.” Eline agrees: “Thanks to Road to Growth we now really dare to go up to individuals and companies and offer them our services.”
"This helped us immensely. If we ever feel like we’re getting stuck in a rut, we’re definitely coming back.”
And are they considering taking up a new course? “Absolutely. This helped us immensely. If we ever feel like we’re getting stuck in a rut, we’re definitely coming back.”
Antwerp Management School developed the tools and method that the Road to Growth coaches now apply in companies. Later, we will conduct further research based on the results of these projects. Are you an ambitious entrepreneur and do you, like Yannick and Eline, want some guidance to continue to grow?
We have a brand new program: