Maribor Development Agency, the lead partner of project INTRA (programme Interreg Europe) proposed changes to the OP for implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 in East Slovenia. As the result, the Ministry for Economic Development and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia prepared the Internationalisation vouchers.
Niko Huber, the CEO and owner of Cana Water, told us that “Vouchers helped us attend the Cannes film festival, where Cana became the official water. This gave us worldwide recognisability!”
Cana Water is a young SME established only in 2018, however their story begins about 10 years earlier. Its co-owner and CEO, Niko Huber, the first water sommelier in Slovenia bought a piece of land, where he was certain he’d strike it rich – finding water.
After 10 years of investments, drilling, sampling and testing, he was able to set up the Cana Water company to sell mineral water. As a young entrepreneur, he really used the support offered, by applying for several vouchers. Through them he was able to protect the brand name, attend foreign fairs and also attend a delegation abroad.
In 2019 they have applied for the voucher for participation at international forums and received 3.000,00 EUR support. This helped them attend the Cannes Film festival, where they became the official water of the festival. Thanks to this success they were recognised as a high-quality mineral water and received other invitations to attend renowned events such as the Biennale in Venice and the Rolls Royce anniversary meeting.
Also, thanks to the brand name protection they have started activities to export their water to the North American market. This means that a micro company really does have a potential to become globally present, with the right idea, right people and right support behind it.