French Explorers’ Words share French entrepreneurs’ keys of success to explore the world, but also their challenges abroad and how they manage to export outside French frontiers. Today’s guest is Christophe Debendère, CEO of Flipo Richir.
1921. That’s when Flipo was created to specialize in the maintenance and repair of electric motors and transformers, especially in the mining and textile sectors. The company later merged with Richir, working on the same activities, to become Flipo Richir. 100 years later, the SME based in the North of France now gathers 68 employees, operating in different sectors such as energies, electrical system, or industrial automation. During the past 15 years, the company also expanded itself in Eastern Europe, and in Africa. An international success that could not be done without strong partnerships.
Flipo Richir’s expansion abroad
Flipo Richir opened its first subsidiary, Flipo Energia, in 2006 in Poland. A first opportunity that opened many other doors to the East European market. The next big international milestone occurred in 2014, when the company arrived in Cameroon. This opportunity lead to many others in the African continent: Flipo Richir later reached Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, and even opened a new subsidiary in Guinea in 2018.
The company’s activities in this last country is something that Christophe Debendère, the CEO, is very delighted to share with us: “What I’m most proud of is our training program […] which allows Guinean students to come and study in France for a professional certificate in maintenance of electrical systems before going back to Guinea. Some of them will join our affiliate teams, others will join some of our partners, and lastly, others will join industrial players in Guinea.”
Talking about partners, they are one of the keys behind Flipo Richir international success, along with networking.
Flipo Richir: the network leading to success
Networking and partnerships are Flipo Richir’s main approaches to the international markets. The company indeed works together with French partners to mutualize knowledge, skills and experiences about international markets, but also local partners, to become more autonomous afterwards.
Christophe Debendère highly recommends expanding this way: “My piece of advice […]: work in networking to get feedback from companies operating in the same countries, and even pool together some resources.” An advice that get along with his recommendation to be aware of the different support tools that exist to become an international company.
A last piece of advice? “The key to going abroad is perseverance, never give up!”
Watch Christophe Debendère talks about Flipo Richir in today’s episode.