European Entrepreneurship Case Study Resource Centre Sponsored by the European Commission for Industry & Enterprise under CIP (Competitiveness and Innovation framework Programme 2007 – 2013) Project Code: ENT/CIP/09/E/N02S001 2011
Virobuster (The Netherlands)
Paula Englis Berry College Marianne van der Steen University of Twente / NIKOS Rainer Harms University of Twente / NIKOS Rickie A Moore EM Lyon Business School This case has been prepared as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either the effective or ineffective handing of a business / administrative situation. You are free: to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work to make derivative works Under the following conditions: Attribution. You must give the original author credit. Non-Commercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the author(s).
Introduction Herbert Silderhuis drove slowly from Enschede city center on his way to his office, deeply lost in thought. It was early March 2009 and although the work week was nearly over, he was thinking about the local newspaper article that he had read that morning - “Immediate Closure of Hospitals in Enschede and Hengelo due to Deadly Virus”. The story was the talk of the town during lunch hour with people wondering how this could happen to their local hospital? Herbert was a scientist and a serial entrepreneur and so he was intrigued by the question: how could people avoid this type of disaster happening again in the future? Over three decades he had launched five companies, all of whom specialized in a different aspect of health hygiene and had been successful in the hospital sector. Throughout this period, he had also been conducting research on treating viruses and had several of his protocols adopted in the preparation of flu medicines. Indeed, he had just launched Virobuster to promote a range of clean air technologies and protocols.
Herbert was getting ever deeper in thought on the questions raised by the possible closure of the hospitals because for him it was a potential opportunity. He had seen the problem coming and like all of his other products, he had started Virobuster knowing that hospitals would eventually become interested in his products. The closure of the hospitals in Enschede and Hengelo would be devastating to the communities, and if this was happening in Enschede and Hengelo, then it was surely happening elsewhere also in Europe, and indeed around the world. He wondered could Virobuster offer a solution for Enschede and Hengelo. Could Virobuster offer a solution to the rest of Europe? What should he do? How should he proceed? Herbert realised that if Virobuster went after the Enschede and Henglo opportunity, he would be venturing into a new situation as the company would have to deal with not one but two nearby public hospitals simultaneously. He wondered if he would be able to leverage his reputation and experience in the air sterilization in the health and food sectors to break into this new market. He also realised that if he succeeded with Enschede and Henglo he would be in a stronger position to set his sights on
the rest of Europe. Herbert considered his options as he could either expand through his own sales team on a country-by-country basis or alternatively he could license out the technology to other suppliers which would allow him to enter many markets across Europe simultaneously. There were positives and negatives to whichever option he might finally select.
Company History Like many people with an entrepreneurial spirit, Herbert began the company when he saw an issue and wanted to be the solution....
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