EBRD and EU help Greek tyre company Meidanis-Sofos Elastika grow

By Olga Aristeidou

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Meidanis-Sofos Elastika had big plans for the future and asked the EBRD for their guidance in order to achieve them.

(l-r) Angela Sofou, Eleni Sofou and Angelos Meidanis. The photo was taken before the current Covid-19 restrictions. 

New business plan sets the wheels in motion for tyre wholesaler

Meidanis-Sofos Elastika S.A., a third-generation family business, is one of the most prominent tyre companies in Greece and the first to benefit from the EBRD’s advisory programme in the country.

In a traditionally male-dominated field, Meidanis-Sofos Elastika is a woman-led business, breaking all the moulds. Angela Sofou has been serving as the company’s Managing Director since 2015. She is joined by her cousin, Angelos Meidanis, Commercial Director, and her sister Eleni Sofou, Financial and Business Development Director.

“Each of us has a separate role but we take all the strategic decisions together,” says Angela.

When asked what they particularly value in the business, they replied in unison that the foundation of the company is the collaborative culture and the strong relationships among the employees and the clients as well as the quality of the products they offer.

“The only contact the car has with the road is through the tyres. The tyres must therefore be of the highest quality,” says Eleni. “We first brought the Korean tyre brand Hankook to Greece in 1978. When we started our collaboration, Hankook was not the worldwide leading company it is now.”

Throughout the challenges of the long-lasting financial crisis in Greece, the company has nevertheless managed to grow further. The Covid-19 crisis and its economic impact created additional challenges for most companies in the sector, including Meidanis-Sofos Elastika, yet the business not only remained resilient but has managed to extend its collaborations with suppliers, increase the number of employees and maintain its turnover.

“It plays a very big role, how well you have organised and ‘fortified’ your business in the face of a possible crisis,” Angela reflects.

“I think our company has very good reflexes and we can maintain our reputation and manage any crises that arise,” says Eleni.

Meidanis-Sofos Elastika had big plans for the future and asked the EBRD for their guidance in order to achieve them. As part of the Bank’s Advice for Small Businesses programme in Greece, funded by the European Union through the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) of the European Investment BankKantor Management Consultants S.A. was appointed to help develop their new business plan.

In response to the dynamic market conditions, Meidanis-Sofos Elastika wanted to renew and redefine its strategic plan by shaping and evaluating alternative business strategies, with the main objectives being to improve its efficiency, achieve higher profitability and increase its market share.

“It boosts your confidence to hear what you are doing well and to see your ideas captured in a plan,” Angelos notes. “It is very important to receive not only funding, but also know-how, and this is why we reached out to the EBRD,” concludes Eleni.

The EBRD launched its programme in Greece in March 2018. Since then, more than 100 companies have benefited from advisory support through its network of consultants and advisors.

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