Sharing the vision of entrepreneurship
Martin Povolni holds his thumb and index finger a few millimetres apart. “I can’t count the number of times I was this close to giving up in the beginning.” Smiling, he adds, “I’m still here and business is good. You might say it’s determination, but that’s only half the story.”
That story began thirteen years ago, when Martin installed a new furnace for his central heating system at home. The engineer in him saw the ways in which the furnace could be improved, and the entrepreneur in him saw an idea for going into business on his own – Uniko was born. It would be another three years before the first new furnace saw the light of day. And with it more challenges. The seasonal nature of the business made raw material shortages all the more difficult to deal with, and laying off staff when demand slumped in the spring and summer was hard. Around that time, Martin sat down with ProCredit Bank.
With ProCredit Bank’s first loan of EUR 20,000, Uniko was able to build inventory in the off-season and meet the increased demand in late summer. The business was back on track.
Today, Uniko holds a patent and offers 5 different furnace models, including versions that burn biomass pellets, even from crop residues. 10 people work there, including Martin’s two sons. The plan is to expand the factory and warehouse, and invest in a new computer numerical control machine to manufacture better metal components faster.