In summer 2021, entrepreneur Maybritt Beutnagel won the coveted product award at the annual cooking competition Sol over Gudhjem. Among those who had to bow to Maybritt's Indian snacks, were famous chef Clays Meyer's snacks of celeriac.
But the victory was no really surprise. For the entrepreneur from Sydfyn has worked with her munchies, as the product is called, for so long that she felt safe on her product. And that’s a point she’d like to pass on to other entrepreneurs.
"You have to believe in yourself and what you do. Otherwise you will get nowhere, ” says Maybritt Beutnagel, who runs production in Vester Skerninge outside Svendborg:
"And you have to test whether there is a market for the product that you have developed. In addition, it is important that you find a network where you can get sparring.”
Sparring, networking and the opportunity to discuss and test ideas and business plans were given to Maybritt in IværksætterDanmark, the business houses' nationwide entrepreneurial project, which has most recently been supported by REACT-EU. She has used the project "for everything" and, among other things, followed a course for food entrepreneurs, which prepared her for testing her market and her customers.
"I also learned that a product should preferably be authentic and have a story. And I learned to set a price so that everyone involved survives and the brand is intact,” says Maybritt Beutnagel.
She know her product, carried by spices like turmeric, cumin and chili, after living in India for a number of years. She is Indian married and her recipe for munchies has been refined through cooking in India. The taste is authentic and that's the whole idea of the product, she says:
"One must be able to have an experience of traveling without traveling. When you open the bag, it must be as it smells and tastes in India.”
She started trial production in the fall of 2020 - during COVID-19, and that naturally put a damper on the business. But entrepreneurial spirit and good test results from potential customers drove her on, and today she delivers to up to 40 customers, primarily farm shops, specialty stores and gift shops. She also delivers to businesses and her hope is to get her munchies on the shelves in the grocery chain Irma during 2022.
She dreams that in the long run the turnover can carry four to five part-time employees, the product range must be expanded with a "milder" variant, and more branding and marketing must be used.
The development is fast for the South Funen food producer, and she flirts with the idea of becoming a real growth entrepreneur. But even that dream contains dilemmas, Maybritt has realized:
"Do I need to scale up and start a factory? Do I need to outsource production to have more time for sales and marketing? And can I call it handmade if I do not make it myself? It may well be that I will need IværksætterDanmark again.”
FACTS About EntrepreneurDenmark (IvDK)
EntrepreneurDenmark is the business houses' initiative for a unifying national effort for all entrepreneurs. The overall goal of the project is to support a broad competence boost among entrepreneurs in order to increase the number of new entrepreneurs and increase their survival rate.
The EU Social Fund and the decentralized business promotions fra the Finance Act have supported IvDK with DKK 20.8 mill. and REACT-EU has supported with DKK 60 mill.
FACTS About the EU Social Fund in 2014-2020
In the period 2014-2020, the EU Social Fund, Regional Fund and Danish partners invest DKK 1 billion each year in activities that create growth and employment throughout the country.
The Social Fund program for 2014-2020 is targeted at entrepreneurship, education and social inclusion. We need more new companies and a more skilled workforce. These are crucial prerequisites for increased productivity, competitiveness and growth.
Therefore, the EU Social Fund co-finances projects to:
- Increase entrepreneurial activity and ensure growth-oriented competence development in small and medium-sized companies
- Promoting social inclusion - through specially designed youth educations, integration into the labor market and socio-economic enterprises
- Strengthen vocational education, vocational education and higher education