We talked to Manfred van der Voort of ICR3ATE on how they help you convert good ideas into a functional prototype to conquer the market and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Manfred van der Voort: From a health point of view, pretty well ok, from an entrepreneur point of view, it’s a demanding time.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ICR3ATE.
Manfred van der Voort: 56-year-old highly technical educated consultant in IT, decided 7 years ago to recatch one of my backgrounds in electronics. The Internet of Things hypes altogether with developments on where innovation takes place, and the possibilities of crowdfunding have led to the initiative to found ICR3ATE – Getting Things Prototyped.
How does ICR3ATE innovate?
Manfred van der Voort: First of all, we are here to help SMEs, inventors and Startups to innovate. We innovate as well by moving into the direction of low-volume manufacturing services and by enabling rapid application development using low code/no-code platforms.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Manfred van der Voort: Because we are active on the innovation theme of our clients, we are hit quite intense by lowering down the number of commissions we’ve got. With that, we are surviving by using our savings from the revenues from the last 4 years. We hope that the end of the Covid pandemic might give some upswing in our market.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Manfred van der Voort: No difficult choices, but after improving our PR & Marketing substantially, we shifted our human resources towards Operations to be able to make some of my hours billable.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Manfred van der Voort: Prior to Covid, we had no structured customer relationship management process in place. We now have a combination of Zoho Bigin and Mailpoet. Simple and effective.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Manfred van der Voort: Yes, we have some grants. In the Netherlands, it’s being called NOW, and we benefit from it very little. The company can’t survive from it, but the good thing is that it will make our Startup life lasts longer, about 2 months.
Your final thoughts?
Manfred van der Voort: Please, vaccinate, vaccinate and vaccinate the sooner, the better.
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