Biab International (www.biabint.se) is a Swedish trading company established in Gothenburg in 1980, mainly focusing on supplying products to the UN organizations, NGOs and to similar international customers. Education/school supplies, recreation/sports goods, security/safety, hygiene/sanitation, emergency relief related items, shelters, rub halls, construction/building materials, water storage tanks and pumps etc. With 15 employees in Sweden, China and Kenya, Biab International is able to respond to tenders and act quickly both on international, regional and local level. Today, they are Sweden’s largest vendor to the UN system (UN Annual Statistical Report 2016).
Biab International has developed and extended their product portfolio gradually, throughout the years and delivers to more than 30 different UN agencies, NGOs and peacekeeping missions. Their business concept is “we supply the products you need“. According to Aslam Khan, CEO at Biab International, it is important to have products which match the needs, so that a company can serve the organizations properly, in time and cost efficient. When a company supplies to a humanitarian aid organization, the company assists the organization to help those who need help immensely. Last but not least, be prepared to face international competition, apply quick delivery methods, render quick and personal service to the customers. Do your homework to enter this particular market. If you have an innovative product/solution, market it to the organizations with the help of Business Sweden. It is, however, imperative that your product must comply to the specifications of the customers. Keep in mind that the UN or NGO do not assist the companies to develop their products. As a vendor, you should be able to deliver a finished and well tested product, complying to the requirements.
If you have participated in a tender, when and where it is applicable, try to attend the public bid opening sessions. Such attendance provides valuable feedback, especially of your competitors and to understand the market as well as the challenges you face. Business Sweden offers valuable and professional assistance to reach your company’s goals to win the orders and contracts.
“Biab International keeps contact with Business Sweden at different stages, both before, during and after different procurement processes. Consequently, we have been provided with very good hands-on service from Business Sweden, especially in Copenhagen before a bidding process. This in order to analyse the competition and need of the products better. This has been a contract winning process on several occasions.
Actually, Biab International’s contacts with Business Sweden started already in the beginning of 1990. When SWEUNB (Swedish Association for UN Business) was formed with the collaboration of the Foreign Ministry and of the Swedish Trade Council, Aslam Khan was the Chairperson of the SWEUNB governing board between 2006-2009. Biab International has participated in several delegations, seminars and fairs organized by Business Sweden and we have also utilized their local market support.
“Business Sweden are very professional and has excellent knowledge of the UN system and they have local/regional network around the World which the Swedish companies can benefit from. For us, Business Sweden has not only worked as a door opener, but as a local support on the markets where we have not established our own company” says Aslam Khan, CEO, Biab International
Increased focus on sustainability and innovation
Biab International has increased their focus on innovative, particularly of the Swedish products and have now developed a special department called Biab Innovation. This to be proactive to offer innovative solutions in the field of humanitarian aid. It is a highly increasing trend, UN organizations as well as the NGOs are eagerly looking for innovative solutions.
Furthermore, Biab International has signed the UN Global Compact and CSR Sweden agreements. Last but not least, they work actively on applying ethical code of conduct, sustainable supply policies in their dealings. They also actively encourage their factories and their sub-suppliers to adopt same routines, as practiced by Biab international.
Last but not least, Aslam Khan underlines that it is important to be aware of that UN agencies and NGOs operate globally. It is therefore important that your company should be flexible with the products and services to match the requirements of different regions and countries. For the Swedish companies it is of great advantage that Copenhagen is an important and focal center for many large UN organizations. With the close cooperation with Business Sweden in Copenhagen, your company shall be able to establish business contacts with many of these organizations.