Enova Partners LLC, a new minority-owned injection molder, has hooked up with larger molder Tech Group Inc. in a partnership that initially will make consumer packaging products at a recently opened Indiana plant.
The venture, EnovaTech, will lease space at Tech Group's 70,000-square-foot plant in Frankfort, Ind., and will add 20-30 workers during the next year.
Enova's majority owner is Ed Rigaud, a former Procter & Gamble Co. executive who started the company in March. A few weeks ago, he revealed plans to make small automotive parts in a separate joint venture with injection molder Plastic Moldings Co. LLC of Cincinnati. While Enova has plans for rapid growth, it still is lining up production space and partners.
The joint venture with Tech Group represents a major step, Rigaud said. Production will begin in Frankfort within two months. The venture will make high-end closures and specialized delivery components for cosmetics and personal-care products, including makeup and antiperspirant.
Rigaud held various development and marketing positions at Cincinnati-based P&G and retired in 2001 as vice president of government relations. EnovaTech plans to seek projects from P&G, which has a strong minority supplier development program, he said in an April 7 telephone interview.
``We'll be pretty aggressive going after consumer products,'' said Rigaud, who is black. ``[EnovaTech] can take what I learned at P&G [about] quality and attention to customers.''
Tech Group, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., will help with development, Rigaud said. Another Enova partner, Plastic Moldings Chief Executive Officer Thom Gerdes, introduced Rigaud to Tech Group CEO and President Harold Faig.
Tech Group holds a 40 percent stake in EnovaTech. While the Arizona molder has ownership interests in a Singapore-based molder and is one of North America's largest plastics contract manufacturers, the firm never has worked with a minority-owned company, said Mike Treadaway, Tech Group vice president of consumer products.
``The majority of [original equipment manufacturers] that we work with have expressed the need to develop a minority supplier base, but have had difficulty doing that,'' Treadaway said. ``As part of our trying to help our customers and grow with them, we identified a minority business that we can help build.''
Tech Group will provide its experience in engineering, process development and automation.
``The issue is the ability [of minority-owned companies] to really develop the capabilities that the customer needs,'' Treadaway said.
To start, EnovaTech will share some of the 12 presses already at the Frankfort plant. The new venture also will assemble parts, Rigaud said. Tech Group already molds packaging products, gaskets and seals at the Indiana facility.
A longer-range plan is for EnovaTech to open its own, free-standing site in Cincinnati, Treadaway said. That could take two or three years, but EnovaTech plans to provide jobs for minority workers in the Cincinnati area, Rigaud added.