Profile: Roses Cake Shop (continued)

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Two weeks ago we looked at Roses Cake Shop and its young entrepreneurial owner, Roos de Neys. The focus was on beginning the project of opening the cake shop. This week we will hear from Roos about her thoughts for the future; the future of Roses Cake Shop and for young European entrepreneurs in general.

Starting broadly, I asked Roos how optimistic she was about new private enterprises in the current economic climate. Her answer was surprisingly positive, ”I’m very optimistic. I see companies having to slim down financially, therefore making cuts that really limit their options creatively. Thinking outside the box is decreasing and following rules is increasing. I feel that many employees are limited to what the company wants or needs and are not able to really do what they are good at any more. As a result, trades are disappearing and more ‘skill-less’ jobs are emerging. I think owning your own business gives you the chance to really focus on your talents, be unique and fill gaps in the market. Only entrepreneurs have this chance as large companies are too limited.”

They say ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, and for many people it is necessary to feel autonomous and creative. In a generally restrictive business environment, entrepreneurships provide an outlet for this need.

So what if someone decides to make the jump. What advice would Roos give to them?

“Write a business plan. It sounds boring but I think it makes you think about every aspect of the business. Also, when you write everything down it immediately seems more definite, which gives you a chance to get used to the whole idea of owning a business. Look at the financial aspect very thoroughly because there is no point in starting a business if it does not generate any profit. In terms of responsibilities, what I have experienced is that you have to pay tax and if you have employees you have to take care of their pension. Also, there are strict rules if you work with food and other businesses might require permits or certain certificates (like health and safety).”

All of this might seem like a lot of work, but for Roos, it was worth it. She counts as a highlight “having taken the step to do what I really wanted”, explaining, “I thought I could really do it and it was very exciting to put that plan into action”.

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So what now for her? What does the future hold?

“For now, Roses Cake Shop is closed, but it will open again in the future. Not in the same way though – it might be my own business, but if I had my way it would be a lot bigger than that. My dream is to combine teaching with cooking: to educate young people about food and show them that cooking and baking is more fun and healthier than highly processed shop bought items. I’d like to see the future as a place where children (the adults of the future) know where their food comes from and know what effect their food choices have on their body and health. I’d love to do field trips and cooking classes as well as theory lessons. I’d love to see the government make this a priority in education; in my view it is the only way to fight obesity and other diseases.

When describing her plans and dreams for the future, it is clear that opening her own business has given Roos just what she claimed it could offer someone – an outlet for their creativity and the opportunity to develop themselves and their skill-set. And when she is ready to continue, she does not only want to continue her business, she wants to broaden it to make it informative, educational and healthy. More than just making a profit, Roos sees an opportunity to have a positive impact and do her bit addressing the wider social problem of rising obesity.

The vision, optimism and independent imagination mentioned in this article – combined with the outside support and passion we talked about in the first part of this profile – inspire me to think about what I could do myself. It certainly makes setting up a venture seem very possible. Does it inspire you?

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