It would be fair to say that Marius Tudosiei was longer on aspiration than more tangible resources. Growing up in the northern part of Romania, his childhood was spent in and around a big kitchen, where traditional food was cooked using fresh and natural ingredients. But when Marius arrived in the capital city of Bucharest, the availability of such artisanal cuisine was very limited. So in 2009, Marius quit his job in the media industry to build “something dedicated to good food” – though he had no idea what that something might ultimately look like, and no capital to fund the project.
Aspiration to action
So he started with what was available and free. He built a Facebook page and asked his friends to tell him about food and about what his business should be. Soon, he had 1000 friends advising him to open a restaurant. But he said no. Not enough money, not enough expertise. Instead, he decided to offer his friends good food from his small network of suppliers – opening a small and highly specialized grocery store as a means of distribution.
Action to interaction
Though less expensive to start than a restaurant, a grocery store still required capital Marius didn’t have.Until a mentor asked him how much he needed. “10,000 euro” he replied, “and I do not have any idea where I could get that much money”. To which the mentor responded “But do you have 10 friends to give you 1000 euro each?” Before he was done, he had raised a total of 25,000 euro in small bits and pieces from a number of friends.
Interaction to creation
Marius founded Bacania Veche (The Old Grocery Store) in 2010 and it is already one of the most popular small food enterprises in Romania dedicated to good and healthy food. From that starting point he has gone on to open a restaurant (which is also a Charity Shop for Hospice), and a TV cooking show. He delivers food daily for 200 children in 5 nurseries, has a corporate catering business, and employs 20 people.
There is no way to get the recipes which generated this comment on Tripadvisor; “It is the greatest shop that I have ever seen. Cookies and bread cooked on the spot give the flavour and enchant the visitor.” But the secret that enabled Marius to get going is understanding his partners’ affordable loss. While an investment of 10,000 euro is a meaningful sum for many individuals, providing 1,000 euro to a friend starting the business changes the proposition. If the business fails, losing 1,000 euro is not a crushing loss. But if the business is successful, the 1,000 euro will return a profit and perhaps all sorts of other benefits. A good recipe for bringing people into a venture.