Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverages but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Maha Surani, co-founder of Bisou Dates & Chocolates, located in Ottawa, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Healthy snacks including all-natural date butter and Medjool Date Bites made (Medjool date filled with nuts and covered in 70% dark chocolate).

Imagine, our youngest customer is three years old and the most mature, 82. These snacks are energy boosters with a wholesome, delicious flavor. Great for before the gym, after the gym, going for a walk? Kid wants a snack? Too much in a rush for breakfast? You name it, and Bisou can energize you!

Tell us about yourself

As an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate about what you do, day in and day out. Every day leads to new adventures, new customers, retailers, and stories. With my middle eastern background, I am extremely fond of dates, and they were starting to get a real following in North America.

My partner and I started testing ideas with family and friends until we got it just right. We started out small farmer's markets, Xmas markets, online sales. After three years, we branded our products and started full force retail sales. Listen, there are challenges, machinery being one of them. Besides learning how to make chocolate, we have had to learn to be technical in order to manage our machinery and the headaches that come with it.

So many issues can arise, but you have to be so resilient and positive even when there are days where it is just simply hard. My partners and I do this full-time and are so grateful for this opportunity.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Creating a product that clients love and want to buy! That is so cool! Packaging the products so that retailers are happy with the design, look, and information. Learning patience and trusting your partners and their decisions. Maintaining quality, so the clients always expect the same deliciousness. Being a risk-taker!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Managing a business is not easy in terms of the many things you have to manage. You are managing the commercial kitchen, online store, sales, production, marketing, retailers, direct clients, deliveries, machinery, licenses such as the Safe Food for Canadians Certificate, and all the paperwork that comes along with that.

But, be aware that all this does not overwhelm you because it comes in bites and bits. Do not think of all these things as happening at once; it is a process, and you can always find support along the way.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Do your research, talk to as many people as possible, reach out for help at any time, do not hesitate - everyone is eager to help.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

There is nothing more exciting than seeing your product in demand. Take it one step at a time and enjoy the ride.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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