Miro Šarić (Croatia/Education and Catering) and Tomaž Humar (Education and Catering, Slovenia)

NE Miro Šarić and HE Tomaž Humar

New Entrepreneur (NE)
Name & surname: Miro Šarić
Country: Croatia
Age: 68 years
Sector of activity: Catering, education
Have you already started your business? No.
Name of business: Happy Meal
What is your future business? The Happy Meal is intended to be a small business mainly focused on cooking vegetarian, vegan, plant-based meals, and catering service. I plan to deliver the meals to my future clients at their work or home. I intend to organize cooking classes for those interested in learning the art of preparing plant-based meals once a month.

Host Entrepreneur (HE)
Name & surname: Tomaž Humar
Country: Slovenia
Sector of activity: Education, food, health and wellness, tourism
Experience in running a business (in years): 15
Name of business: Culture Education Art Association Rasa (KUID RASA)
What is your business? We organise regular weekly events on Thursdays and Saturdays for our members. We are producing ecological vegetables and fruits from our own eco garden in Šempas, so we have a small catering unit. We promote a healthy lifestyle with a focus on healthy eating and we perform workshops on how to cook healthy with experts. We have a small Bed & Breakfast facility and are planning to renovate our old home (domačija) to become a Guest House. We have a small kitchen and storage as we also occasionally distribute free food to persons in need in the local area. We are very fond of our musical & art evenings and Food & Poetry events.

Period of exchange: 04/02/2020 – 04/08/2020
Duration of exchange: 6 months

How did experienced entrepreneur Tomaž Humar benefit from the work experience of new entrepreneur Miro Šarić?

Croatian aspiring entrepreneur, Miro Šarić, spent most of his life working for other companies and in education. Miro specialized in Ayurveda knowledge and delivers Ayurveda consultations regularly to his clients. After many years of working experience, he decided to start his own business complementing Ayurveda and vegetarian catering services.

The Happy Meal is intended to be a small business mainly focused on cooking vegetarian, vegan, plant-based meals, and catering service. He would like to deliver the meals to his future clients at their work or home. Furthermore, he intends to organize cooking classes for those interested in learning the art of preparing plant-based meals and enjoying the vegetarian journey. In Rijeka (Croatia), his hometown, there are two vegetarian restaurants but they do not have a catering service or food delivery option. And no one is organizing cooking courses and workshops. This encouraged Miro to develop this business niche. He was looking for an appropriate host entrepreneur who could offer him an opportunity to learn about vegetarian cooking courses, catering and complement this with ayurvedic knowledge and services. Fortunately, he found a perfect match with Slovenian experienced entrepreneur, Tomaž Humar, who leads a catering and vegetarian cooking courses oriented business Rasa in Šempas, Slovenia.

Tomaž, as a host entrepreneur, was interested in hosting Miro to learn from him how to determine one’s body type and what is the best diet accordingly. He was also interested in Miro’s Ayurveda consultations for attracting new members and to get support in organizing workshops on healthy living through organic plant-based food.

The activities at the basis of the collaboration between Tomaž and Miro were centered on Miro’s objectives to learn from Tomaž about how to run his own future catering and consulting business in a very similar way to Tomaž, who has been successful for over a decade now. Miro wanted to learn about what it takes to operate the organization and educational center, with workshops, classes, and events all based on presenting culture, art, healthy lifestyle and a plant-based diet, growing own food and healthy lifestyle in general. Miro wanted to learn from Tomaž how to make potential customers interested in the products or the services of Miro’s future company “Happy meal”, how to grow the number of customers and keep them satisfied. Tomaž gave Miro first-hand opportunity to see how to grow organic food, vegetables, and fruits without the use of pesticides and to learn from him more about organizing workshops, events, and courses, like “Wisdom of the East” and how to promote his services more widely online to reach as many people as possible in order to attend Miro’s workshops and cooking classes ones he starts his business “Happy meal”.

At the very beginning, Tomaž and Miro focused on organizing and promoting regular, weekly networking events and activities with his clients, partner organizations, and the local communities. Miro had a chance to introduce himself as an Ayurveda consultant to Tomaž’s customers and offer his services as complementary activities to his host. In the second month, they organized and conducted an educational workshop on healthy living. These activities helped Miro to learn from Tomaž how an organisation as his operates and how it shall be managed. In the coming months, Miro assisted Tomaž in the preparation of a number of cooking and catering training courses as educational weekend seminars of vegetarian cooking classes and education on healthy eating. Miro learned from Tomaž what is the best way to cook and prepare food for food catering services that it keeps all its benefits and nutrients. Tomaž mentored Miro about the role of branding and the benefits of creating alliances with other nonprofits, state organizations, and companies. Tomaž also mentored Miro in improving the marketing and advertising strategy based on responses from previous months. Miro learned from Tomaž what certificates will be needed to start his catering business, how much it will cost in reality, and how much it costs on a monthly basis. Tomaž helped Miro with sharing his database of contacts, so Miro could in the future have more potential clients. Throughout the whole period of exchange, Miro continued giving Ayurveda consultations individually to the interested Tomaž’s members.

At the end of the Erasmus exchange, they were able to evaluate their collaboration and set the path for a new collaboration – weekend educatory seminars every few months and workshops on Ayurveda.

Throughout the Erasmus exchange, Miro gained experience in managing a catering service business, developed a viable business plan, acquired knowledge of catering services connected to the promotion of healthy living manly through healthy eating. He also acquired and exchanged knowledge with Tomaž about plant-based diets, preparing food and growing their own vegetables and fruits, sustainable living, and catering, not in the forms of restaurants but making healthy, nutritious food and delivering it to those who have no time to cook for themselves.

With the support of Miro, Tomaž organized 2 seminars, enlarged his network of potential customers and clients, got some fresh ideas, and acquired knowledge about Ayurveda, which will increase the interest of new clients and members.

Concluding Remarks

Miro Šarić (NE): “This Erasmus exchange was a perfect opportunity for me to gain necessary entrepreneurial skills and know-how for my future business. Tomaž implemented me into his regular, weekly activities. We jointly organized several events, weekly meetings, and healthy cooking & catering seminars, which gave me first-hand experience on how to do the business. With his mentoring and support I was able to develop my business plan and scenario for possible future collaboration – organizing weekend educatory seminars on Ayurveda and healthy cooking.” 

Tomaž Humar (HE): “Miro is a wonderful person, and I am sure he will be a successful future entrepreneur. He is very dedicated to his business idea and was of great help to me and my business. I learned a lot from his wide Ayurveda knowledge and his consulting services perfectly complemented my activities. Actually, he helped me acquire new customers and offered added value to my business. I am pretty sure we will collaborate also in the near future”.