Mark de Beer (centre) at the awarding ceremony

A couple of weeks ago, Mark de Beer, former President of AEGEE-Europe, became Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Dutch community of Barneveld. His company, a family enterprise which produces technical sanitary parts, became first out of 60 nominated firms. “We grew over 500 percent in the last seven years, which probably also had some influence on the decision,” told Mark the Golden Oldie.

Golden Oldie: Mark, you just became Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Can you tell more about your award in a couple of sentences?

Mark de Beer: It actually is a local award among the companies in the community of Barneveld, a town and a lot of villages together in the centre of The Netherlands. About 60 companies were put forward, out of which a jury selected 3 companies in 3 categories, one of them Young Entrepreneurs. During a gala event in the theatre, attended by 500 people and presented by Humberto Tan, a radio and television host, we were announced winners by the jury.

Golden Oldie: So what concrete achievement was awarded?

Mark: We were awarded for the way we continued the family business in a successful way, for the way we enable disabled people to work and for the representative role we play for Barneveld as an international company. We grew over 500 percent in the last seven years, which probably also had some influence on the decision.

Golden Oldie: That’s impressive. Are you sharing the award with others?

Mark: Yes, I’m sharing the award with my brother. We took over the company from our father in 2007 and share the responsibilities for leading the group. He is doing the commercial part, I’m doing the internal parts like finance, technical issues and human resources. It turned out to be a perfect combination of competencies and interests.

Golden Oldie: What is your company doing? How is it called?

Mark: We call it the De Beer Group, but it actually consists of five individual companies in The Netherlands and Germany. Our roots are with technical sanitary parts like gaskets, sealings and fixings. Most of the products we sell come from our own production facilities which are mainly located in Germany. There we have a plastic injection moulding company supplying many different industries, apart from the sanitary industry also toys, household, machine-manufacturers, tools, automotive and others. For example, we make millions of tyres for toy-cars. Also, among the sanitary products, most of you will have those black plugs for the sink at home – we make 15 million of those a year. Or a classic plunger to reopen the drain of the sink, of which we produce 1.5 million a year.

Golden Oldie: What makes your company special – except from the huge growth?

Mark: What really sets us apart from our direct competition is our focus on European production, whereas our competitors focus on buying in China. We strongly believe that on the long run, the quality and flexibility offered by European production will win over Chinese import.

Golden Oldie: Tell us more about the competition for the award.

Mark: The jury selected three companies in each category. Our direct competitors were a Do-it-yourself store and a kind of commercial tourist information and event office. So three very different companies, which also made it very hard to say before the announcement who would win.

Golden Oldie: Who nominated you?

Mark: We were nominated by our bank, which was impressed by our company. We actually changed to this bank during the crisis, as the old housebank was not able anymore to provide us with the needed funding. During the last year, we changed to the new bank and apparently made a good impression.

Golden Oldie: Did you expect to win?

Mark: No, not really. Of course we hoped to win, but since the three companies nominated were so different, we didn’t dare to expect it. We were happy with every step in the process, at first hearing that somebody thought we should be in the competition, then after hearing that we made it into the top three and of course in the end, winning the award.

Golden Oldie: Since you won, did you notice any impact on your company?

Mark: So far we were not very well known locally; we don’t have many local customers, so we never paid a lot of attention to the local networking. So we always needed to explain what we are doing when we went to some local events. Now everybody knows us. It is up to us to try to make some benefits out if it and approach the industrial companies in Barneveld to see what we can do for them. Also, we hope that for finding new employees it will be easier. Until now, the award is pretty recent so there is not much influence yet. However, it is a big reward for all the efforts, both for ourselve as well as for all our employees. That is a great motivation.

Golden Oldie: Where can interested people find out more about your award and your company?

Mark: You can check out our website, There is a news item still on about winning the award (direct link: Here you can also see the video that was made and shown during the gala event, to get a quick impression of what we are doing. Unfortunately, it is all only in Dutch but you can watch the pictures.