Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Estefania Simon-Sasyk, Founder of Mycelium Gastronomy Network, located in San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a network-based global consultancy for food innovation in two areas: product development & social innovation. We gather top-notch multidisciplinary professionals, from chefs to scientists, media experts & foresight practitioners, to deliver transformational projects. In our eight months of existence, we have collaborated with universities, innovation consultancies, the agri-food industry & startups, foundations & local governments around the world.
Tell us about yourself
I am a Michelin-trained chef with over a decade of experience in kitchens around the world that decided to retool her passion & expertise to bring value to society through gastronomy. I want to create spaces for rare collaborations where there were previously none. I want to pull up a chair for those that have valuable knowledge & innovative ideas but don't have a seat at the table. I am motivated to do what I do because all our projects are aligned with our theory of change, which compiles a series of actions that we believe will lead us to a more sustainable, more equitable food system. I believe we can change the world for the better.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
- Over 100 members joined, and creating a really cool community through online events & information sharing, plus of course, doing projects together!
- +40K euros of value created for the ecosystem (previously not consultants, no opportunities for them in the space), of which a whooping 42% goes to the Global South!
- Created multidisciplinary teams for 14 projects ranging from:
+ Global ingredient scanning with place-based expertise.
+ Sustainability advisory for Venezuela's 1st uni certification in gastronomy.
+ Testings of new products from startups.
+ Helping Navarra's & Cataluña's governments in their strategy formulation for tourism & sustainability for the HORECA sector.
+ Developed high-gastronomic value products with a rural community to use wasted or lower-value crops in Ecuador (and helped them find buyers!)
+ Connected with +50 professionals in the food space to identify opportunities for novel food in Europe.
- Developing an education program that aims to have super low prices to put food professionals & beyond up to speed on a variety of issues.
- Just launched Transform, an experience that aims to explore the future through the practice of food.
- Managed to pick up and play with my daughter almost every afternoon. Excited about what lies ahead!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Knowing that people have trusted you with their time and talent. It's a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Prototype & validate as soon as possible.
- Don't wait until after work or retirement to do what you think needs to be done.
- Do not lose sight of the fact that you are core to your venture's value proposition.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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