HORTI+ 03: GrowTech LLC a Russian success story

Stories of business success motivate and inspire, and this is especially true in the contemporary Russian marketplace. In order for businesses to thrive in this challenging market they have to be able to cope with working in uncertain conditions and overcome numerous and diverse challenges on a daily basis, and yet still remain efficient and forward-thinking. If you can succeed in all these areas, longevity is guaranteed and the rewards can be great. And if the business project is developed, launched and managed by a woman it also helps to dispel traditional stereotypes and show that there are new ways to run and manage a successful company. GrowTech LLC is a striking example of how to start a business from scratch and after just a few years become a market leader in its chosen sector.

Some facts about GrowTech LLC: the company is only 5 years old and the director, founder, and driving force of the company is a woman, Mrs Tatiana Reutova. They are a market leader in the Russian cocopeat and rock wool sales market. They own two rock wool manufacturing facilities and currently have 90% of the Russian cocopeat sales market share. They are also the official distributor of 8 international manufacturers of fertilizers. In 2021, 7000 tonnes were sold, and they have just become the official distributor of BASF seeds company

Nowadays, GrowTech is one of the key enterprises in the Russian greenhouse market specializing in substrates and fertilizers. Although the company is relatively young and developing dynamically, all its managers and specialists have long-term experience and well-established business reputations. Biogrow has been supplying cocopeat to Russia since 2007. Nowadays around 90% of all greenhouses that work on cocopeat, grow their varieties on Biogrow Substrates imported to Russia through the contract with GrowTech. All the biggest greenhouse holdings that are growing with artificial light in modern high-tech greenhouses use our products and know the quality is always on point. GrowTech’s sales territory covers all regions from Saint-Petersburg to Sakhalin.

“I’ve known Tatiana for many years since she was working as a sales manager. When I met her for the first time in Croatia, I could see straight away she had all the necessary skills to be a great manager” says Fabrice Fievre, the commercial director of Biogrow Substrates. “Thanks to her analytical skills, she has a very in-depth understanding of the market and the specific needs of each client. This is combined with great natural leadership and an ability to adapt to all interlocutors whether that is a simple worker or the CEO of a Russian multinational”.

He adds that in the beginning most suppliers were not specialized in the Greenhouse market, but had a more general knowledge as agriculture suppliers. During the last 15 years, the greenhouse market in Russia has totally changed with the boom of the new high-tech greenhouses, and of course with an influx of new investors. The market became more and more technologically advanced and specific. So, it was time for the suppliers to follow this evolution by being more and more specialist and focused on this market only.

“This situation opened the door for Tatiana to start her own company. During her many years of working as a sales manager, she gained invaluable knowledge of dealing with such companies, and also acquired great skills as a financial and administrative manager. For Biogrow, my vision was to also follow this evolution and develop our partnership, so I decided to support her in this project as much as possible. I guess it’s a unique feature of the Agriculture business, and I hope it will always remain the same, but clients do business mainly with people they know, like, and trust. Building strong relationships and earning your customer’s trust and confidence is in my opinion the best way to establish and maintain long-term partnerships. We can now say that after 5 years, it was the best strategic decision we could have made. GrowTech is now stronger than ever. Tatiana has built an excellent team around her with a clear strategy. We still have a lot of work to do, the market is big and always evolving, so GrowTech must follow this path to continue to meet the needs of the growers. Russia has one of our biggest markets for Biogrow, we occupy the leading position and we continue to develop to meet the demand and further strengthen our partnership with GrowTech” concludes Fabrice.

GrowTech LLC as the exclusive distributor of Biogrow Substrates occupies first place in Russia in market share and sales volume. Business competition in the Russian substrates market is pretty tough, approximately 30 suppliers hand out their products for trials, but our clients know from many years of experience what real quality is. And this is an undeniable strength of Biogrow! From the very start of our cooperation and up until the Covid global pandemic the company organized annual trips for plant growers to manufacturing sites in Sri Lanka, and on every visit they were able to show why they are one of the leading suppliers of coco peat products! Our clients also had the opportunity to visit greenhouses in the south of France owned by the Biogrow group where training and experience exchange sessions were organized thanks to the fact that Biogrow is a unique company created by growers for growers!

GrowTech rock wool is also in high demand and widely used within the Russian Federation as well as abroad. Due to the unwavering high-quality of the products we sell, every year demand for GrowTech rock wool increases, and it has already reached the level of 700 hectares. In 2021, GrowTech started a new chapter of its history – the distribution of a wide range of mineral water-soluble fertilizers from leading international manufacturers. Yara, SQM, Rotem, and some others signed a long-term cooperation agreement. In the first year, the company sold and delivered more than 7000 tons of nutrients. It is a big step forward because it is well known that 2021 was a year of incredible price increases for fertilizers caused by skyrocketing gas prices in Europe, an embargo on its export from China, high freight costs, etc. But we made it work!

High-quality products, highly experienced management, optimal logistics guaranteeing rapid delivery, priorities in customs clearance, and keeping clients happy are all the qualities that make GrowTech the leader in this niche market and have created stable, ongoing development, and a year-on-year increase in sales volume. Moreover, the clients receive constant support from skilled and experienced plant growers on an almost constant basis. In order to further develop the logistics part of our business, we are now in the process of developing our own distribution network.

2022 has only just started and we are already working on 2 new projects. We are proud to announce that we signed a distribution agreement with BASF seeds company to introduce and promote their seed varieties to the Russian market. It is a very challenging project, but we are sure that we will succeed!

The second project is the introduction of a wide range of educational and informational activities aiming to support and upgrade Russian plant growers’ knowledge and skills to the European level. Despite the fact that the Russian greenhouse market is developing at breakneck speed, the amount of knowledge is still very limited mainly due to the language barrier. So, the plan is to create a web-based magazine with daily publishing of all kinds of news and research appealing to world-renowned greenhouse leaders in different spheres. It will also become an educational media platform for young plant growers and an interesting source of news for more experienced growers. Thanks to the continuing support of our foreign partners, we plan to organise on-site visits for our clients with the aim of providing training and the dissemination of the latest plant-growing knowledge and methodology!

GrowTech is always thankful and proud of its business relations with all its partners! Biogrow is the friend and adviser that has proved that friendship and successful business can stand side by side. We have always greatly valued our business partners, who have each and every one shared this journey with us, and we will continue to offer the best conditions for fruitful and long-term cooperation!

So, what’s the secret of success? For GrowTech, it is persistency and an ability to change approaches until the most effective strategy is found, and of course to never give up!

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Visit the GrowTech website : www.growtech.pro