NAME: Silvia van den Heuvel
COUNTRY: The Netherlands
BACKGROUND: Dietican, University of arts and modules project- and strategic management
ACTION/SECTOR: Food, innovative products to improve the use of the livestock of goat
POSITION: Owner, Manager, R&D
ORGANIZATION: COMPANY: Dutch Goat Croquette
My Background and Career
Being a pioneer is my middle name, always interested in pure and honest food. Since 2014 I am the owner of the Dutch Goat Croquette. In Holland people hardly eat goat, because they don’t know ‘what to do with it’. In summer and wintertime, my daughter Keri and other students help me in selling the innovative products of goat on pure and honest/ biologic markets. I am able to pay my living with this activity. I developed these innovative products myself. By working together with a family business of poulterers, processing- on a big scale- game, flesh and fowl, we will be able to realise better sales of my goat products in Holland. Since my twenties, I always have been active in alternative projects as a women’s restaurant, a theatre production bureau and so on. Around the birth of my daughter and buying our house, I worked for 20 years in paid jobs, as branch advisor and project leader on entrepreneurship and labour market, at (semi) government and branch organisations. Since 2008 I offered this work as a self-employed freelancer.
When working as an external project leader, you apparently have a big chance, the organisation does not continue your lovely advice, when you have gone. That demoralised me so much. My work seems to be: thrown away time, money and enthusiasm. It exhausted me. Now I can think of new ideas, explore them and bringing them up to new levels. With a nice and concrete product: offering added value! The disadvantage of having a small firm- where I develop new recipes for goat products- is the fact, you are just ‘stirring in pots and pans with your both hands and arms’. That is nice, but has not enough impact for my goal to improve the total sales of goat on the food market in Holland. When I participated an event of our branche- organisation LTO (agriculture, livestock and greenery), I came in contact with a big poulterer. (simply: A butcher of deer and birds).With the quality manager of this firm, we invented the processes to produce my products on a wider scale. They will take care of the sales to the wholesalers of hotels and restaurants. I remain busy with ‘tickling the taste’ of Dutch people to try goat. Because in the Netherlands nobody knows what to do with goat.
I am a concrete do-er. I like passion and vision, but do something with it. I know much about many, a real generalist, though. So I look for help and advice on specialist things, as contract law or tax. As a generalist you really need those specialists to add to your skills. I am a bit dyslectic, so I always ask for a friendly control of, by my myself written, important texts. The selling of innovative ideas ask from you: effort, endurance, perseverance and space to able experimenting. But yes, also patience ;))
Hints & Tips
If you like your impact to grow, dare to work together with a ‘bigger’ partner.
Action based market research is a very important tool, when offering innovative products. Take care of a consistent marketing concept, with your logo, your packaging, your own style of business cloth and of course the conversation with your client. That makes you recognizable, so people come back to you.
People in crafts are famous for their drive to create the ultimate perfection. Why else should you work so hard with your own hands and head? But dare to ask the right price, than. Go and look for cooperation with a bigger partner to improve your impact. That takes a lot of insight, and learning and takes time. So learn to have patience for a bigger approach.