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From fashion to face masks: flexible and creative

By Sponsor

14 Jul 2020


The coronavirus crisis has resulted in a significant loss of turnover for many companies. Those participating with CBI's Ready to Trade project have experienced this first-hand. But these entrepreneurs were not just going to sit back and watch their companies go under. They used their creativity and flexibility to focus on producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Manufacturing these products will allow the participants to capitalise on a huge demand for face masks and protective clothing. They are helping to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, while simultaneously giving their turnover a boost too.


CBI supported the companies with a webinar, which 15 companies attended. The webinar explained the various aspects of manufacturing PPE. The companies were given information about the different types of masks, as well as their effectiveness and safety levels. Protective clothing and the associated legal requirements in the EU were also discussed. The webinar didn’t just cover the technical side of PPE, but also the marketing of the products and potential customers. The webinar allowed CBI to provide the companies with information and knowledge, which they were subsequently immediately able to apply when manufacturing the products.

Face masks

Three companies from Belarus started manufacturing masks. Nelva bought special equipment to be able to manufacture high-quality hygienic masks. This investment has enabled them to manufacture 20,000 masks per day. Nelva manufactures three types of masks with different filters. The masks consist of two layers of spunbond, with one of the three filters in between. Spunbond is a non-woven fabric, which is therefore very good at stopping tiny particles, such as pathogens, from penetrating.

Emse also started producing masks and has a capacity of 500,000 masks per month. The masks consist of four layers and also contain spunbond. Lakbi switched from producing women's clothing to producing masks. They are now manufacturing 190,000 masks per month.


The masks produced by the companies are currently only used in Belarus. CBI wants to help the companies to export the masks to the Netherlands. The Hulptroepen.nu initiative will test the masks and check whether they meet Dutch standards. The companies will be able to sell the masks on the Dutch market once they have been approved.

Protective clothing

Panda and Portavita have started manufacturing protective clothing. These companies have the certifications required to produce this type of clothing. Portavita manufactures high-quality suits with hoods, glued seams and elastic on the cuffs of the sleeves and legs. The suit can be ordered in different sizes to provide optimal protection.

Panda manufactures various separate items, which can also be ordered as a set. For example, a set consists of a protective suit, an overall and shoe protectors. In addition to the sets, some products can also be ordered individually, such as protective aprons, jackets and even head and neck covers.

You can read more information about the companies here.

The Ready to Trade project is financed by EU4Business, an initiative for SMEs in the EU's Eastern Partnership member countries. For more information, please visit www.eu4business.eu.

You can contact us via this page if you have any questions about the programme.