Research into opportunities for international expansion

The Business Carrousel of NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences links students and the business community. This cooperation emphasises the preparation of an export plan. Five students from the International Business programme at NHL Stenden launched a study to explore Wafilin Systems’ opportunities for expansion abroad. The students focused on identifying export opportunities and scope for the food and beverage industry to enter the German market.

We interviewed Lina Schmidt, a fourth-year student from Germany, who talked about how the study went and her experiences with it. Lina took up the role of coordinator to ensure that everything would run smoothly. A tough job, because COVID-19 measures made it impossible to meet in person and the entire study had to be conducted online. Although this was clearly a different way of working to what everyone was used to, they nevertheless managed to prepare an extensive and valuable study.

Strategic position of Wafilin Systems

The research plan consisted of three parts: primary research into the (German) market, recommendations to increase export opportunities, and an implementation plan for entering the market. The students first looked at the current organisation, structure and strategic position of Wafilin Systems at micro, meso and macro level. They studied the current strategy, the available opportunities, the competition, potential customers, and where the customers are located.

Enhancing the marketing landscape

Following the analysis, the students developed a series of recommendations to enhance the company’s online and offline marketing landscape and reach German customers. One conclusion was that forming a strategic alliance in Germany would provide a solid foundation. It also became clear that there is still a lot to be gained in terms of brand awareness for Wafilin Systems. Moreover, recommendations were presented for introducing a virtual tour and a new website in English, German and Dutch. Based on these recommendations, a three-year implementation plan has been developed showing how Wafilin Systems can take steps to enter the German market in four phases.

“The study has resulted in a number of useful recommendations for us. We will immediately start with the virtual tour and the new website and launch these in the coming months. It was also interesting to hear the students’ view of our organisational structure. Despite the limitations we faced, the collaboration was very enjoyable. And that makes it all the more impressive that the students have been able to deliver such an extensive analysis and report,” says Jos van Dalfsen.

Open collaboration

Lina says that she also really enjoyed the collaboration with Wafilin Systems. “It was a very open collaboration in which we shared a lot of information. There was always someone to bounce ideas off, and we could always ask for feedback to improve the study.”

Would you like to know more about the collaboration with the International Business students? And about the results of the study? Please contact Jos van Dalfsen at

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