“Seeing a child that normally sits or lies down all day standing and moving about like other children is a very moving experience. We often hear that our products make a real difference in the everyday lives of affected families,” says Made for Movement CFO Jan Erling Nilsen.
The company’s business concept is to bring mobility to persons who cannot move on their own, through two products: NF-Walker and Innowalk. The first of these is a wheeled walking and standing aid, while Innowalk is a motorised movement trainer for persons with limited mobility.
The products have enjoyed great success in Norway, particularly after Made for Movement began collaborating with the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). International expansion, however, has taken longer.
“The NF-Walker is a leading mobility aid for our target group, and has a strong position internationally. Take-up of our newer product, Innowalk, has been slower. Rolling out products of this kind in different countries takes time, and the products are costly,” says Nilsen.
The Innowalk aid has been designed specifically for severely disabled children and young people, and is individually tailored to the needs of each user.
“These children do not represent a large market segment, and international growth is thus slower. The demand is there, but we needed a growth-acceleration strategy.”
Made for Movement therefore decided to trial a product-leasing scheme.
Leasing scheme in Spain
The company contacted Export Credit Norway to explore available options.
“The concept we developed with Export Credit Norway and GIEK’s help has allowed us to supply many more units to the market simultaneously.”
Following initial meetings in 2016, the scheme developed quickly, and Innowalk is now available in Spain on a leasing basis.
The leasing scheme accounted for more than 10 per cent of budgeted sales to international distributors in 2017, and over 100 children will benefit from Innowalk over the next five years.
“The product is adapted to the needs of each user. We also make further adjustments as children grow and their needs change. Innowalk is supplied in different sizes, and the leasing scheme therefore requires a sizable stock of units,” says Nilsen.
The new leasing scheme makes Innowalk available to more families, including those with limited financial resources.
“Parents of severely disabled children have to prioritise their spending. The new scheme makes the product affordable for many more families. Our aims are for the product to become known in additional countries and, in the longer run, to secure approval as a recognised mobility aid,” explains Nilsen.
Broad range of transactions
Nilsen believes that it would have been difficult to secure a similar agreement with a commercial bank, as few would have been willing to invest in this niche market.
Our dream is to serve as many children and young people as possible.
Jan Erling Nilsen, Made for Movement.
“Export Credit Norway and GIEK have been fantastic, investing time and resources in us despite the relatively small size of the transaction. For us, however, this deal is both large and important, and we are very grateful for the support we have received,” he says.
Export Credit Norway and GIEK have streamlined and simplified their joint solutions for small and medium-sized businesses in recent years. The two organisations finance a very broad range of transactions totalling anything from a couple of million to several billion Norwegian kroner.
“The Made for Movement deal is somewhat atypical for us, given its value of around NOK 2 million,” says Ivar Slengesol, Export Credit Norway’s Director of Lending – Industry and Clean Technologies.
“Nevertheless, we are very pleased to have facilitated this particular deal. We actively identify and contact relevant exporters and their customers to raise awareness of our financing products. Small and medium-sized businesses are the foundation of the Norwegian economy, and we want to make our solutions as relevant to this segment as possible,” continues Slengesol.
“Made for Movement is a small business with a small customer in Spain, but here the foreign customer has high creditworthiness. This allowed us to use simplified loan documentation and minimise transactions fees. As in many other cases, the customer welcomed the opportunity to diversify its sources of financing using Export Credit Norway,” he says.
Made for Movement plans to roll out its leasing model to new countries. Several projects are currently at the planning stage, including an exciting new cooperation opportunity in Poland.
“Our dream is to serve as many children and young people as possible. We believe that we have developed major international products needed by therapists, families and users all over the world. We want to make our products more widely known and disseminated, so that children and young people can benefit from them. We know that our products are highly effective and improve quality of life.”