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Bar manager and shrub entrepreneur dreams of growth and more hours a day

How to market your vinegar product so that it looks delicious and quality? Entrepreneur Mia Hjorth Hansen learned this in the EU project IværksætterDanmark, and now she dreams of several more hours a day so she can fulfill her dreams.

Entrepreneur Mia Hjorth Hansen is busy. In addition to her work as bar manager in Aarhus, she runs her own company, AIM THIRST, which produces the non-alcoholic product shrub.

It makes me in a good mood and proud that I have created this. Many are impressed that I have a business next to my job. And I have to admit that I sometimes wish the day had more hours,” says the 29-year-old entrepreneur, who is a trained waiter and has worked as a restaurant manager in Skagen.

It was here at the top of Denmark that she began to develop her own version of shrub, which is based on vinegar and cane sugar and is flavored with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Her prototypes of the shrub were served to the guests as an alternative to soda and juice, and there was so much interest in the product that she set about producing.

Through my work, I could see that many guests who did not drink alcohol lacked a product with more acidity and freshness. Many restaurants have a juice menu and a vegetable menu, but an alternative was needed. And that's how I discovered that I have a product in its own niche.”

At the cocktail bar Gedulgt in Aarhus, Mia works between 40 and 60 hours every week. In his spare time, she spends up to 25 hours producing shrubs in her own production premises in Grenaa and selling and delivering the product to customers, which are primarily restaurants.

Mia has high hopes for the future, but she has also felt the challenges of being a lone entrepreneur - alone in teaching herself everything about business plans, sales techniques, marketing, patents and without a partner to spar and develop ideas with.

Therefore, she was happy when an email was dumped in from the local business house with an offer to participate in IværksætterDanmark, which is the business houses' nationwide entrepreneurial project - which has most recently been supported with REACT-EU funds.

I felt that it was important to get my concept further developed, and therefore I was constantly looking for new input. IværksætterDanmark especially helped me to clarify my brand - so how do I market vinegar so that it looks delicious and quality? Here it was great to talk to someone who has helped others and been able to give examples. ”

29-year-old Mia Hjorth Hansen is a trained waiter, has attended a bartending school in Las Vegas and today works as a bar manager at Gedulgt in Aarhus. Next door, she runs her business AIM THIRST. Photo: The Danish Business Authority

Mia also benefited greatly from being in the company of other entrepreneurs in the network groups in IværksætterDanmark:

We have helped each other with feedback on the points where people are weakly founded. For an entrepreneur, it is really important that someone looks at you and supports you. ”

Following the course of the EU project, Mia Hjorth Hansen has, if possible, become even more steeled in her ambitions to develop her company:

It started with me wanting to give guests better experiences, then it became a hobby, then a business, and now I want to create growth. I have the product - there is a healthier alternative to sweet juices and sodas, and I deliver a quality product. ”

Among other things, she hopes to be able to make her production less manual. Right now she can produce a maximum of 40 bottles in one brew, and over time she would like to be able to hire one or two employees to be in charge of production so she can focus on developing and selling.

The dream scenario?

In a year, we have grown out of the premises here in Grenaa, and I have hired people."

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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 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