09 Jul HIGHLAND FARM FOODS – CAMILLE PAZ Y MINO
It all started very naturally when Camille Paz y Mino lived in NY. Founder and CEO of Highland Farm Foods she shares her experience as a successful Euro-Latin entrepreneur. I have always been a very athletic person, who takes care of her well-being, who likes to eat healthy, who always chooses healthy food without artificial ingredients and when I returned to Ecuador after living in the USA I realized that this option was not available in my country.
There wasn’t a tasty, appetizing snack that you could eat at any time. It was the boom of the quinoa as a super food and I said to myself, “Why not? That’s how Quinoa Pops was born. I created a line of business from a personal need and as a millennial I knew that my generation is looking for what they like and is willing to pay for it.
I realized there was a common need because every day there are many people who feel like eating a snack that is healthy and yummy and they cannot find it. We don’t sell a nice package with a lot of marketing behind it, but a healthy product that matches the description of the label it bears. Our products are an honest proposal that sells what it really has inside. There is no trap advertising a healthy product that is then loaded with refine sugars as happens in many other snacks.
What are the main challenges that startups face when expanding from Europe to Latin America?
For entrepreneurs, every day is a challenge! One of the biggest challenges is financing. Being able to access fair and accessible funds is fundamental for an entrepreneur.
Another big challenge is finding the right partner-s for your project. In my case I started with two other partners who during the process did not have the same vision and we had to separate our paths.
Being a woman, young and new in this world of entrepreneurship has been a challenge, but instead of seeing it as an adversity, it has made me stronger and empowered me. I am branding myself to sell my product, I sell my young, fresh and healthy image that cares about what it eats.
Key learnings/recommendations for companies planning to grow internationally
Always look for the best provider and if the one you have is not what you want, keep looking and take another direction. Going little by little in all this wonderful project of creating your own company is key, do not be in a hurry or rush. You have to be aware of the steps to take and take them safely.
Having good legal advice on trademarks, patents, product registration etc. is key to protecting your product. Entrepreneurs are sometimes too confident and believe that everyone plays with fair rules and we are very naive. Lawyers are never an expense, on the contrary, they are the best investment because the return is much higher than we think.