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MicroStart (Belgium)

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Cretan cuisine is renowned both in Greece and internationally for its unique ingredients and flavours. The cooking techniques are simple, but it is the variety of local products that distinguishes the dishes. What if these fresh and tasty products from Crete were delivered directly to your doorstep? Konstantinos Kalpadakis always had an entrepreneurial vein. He was first a customs broker, and then he founded an export company dealing with solid waste. A decade later he created another company in the telecommunications field. However, this was exactly at the time when the economic and financial crises hit. Little by little, he was forced to give up on his telecommunications project. Yet, Konstantinos decided that his career would not stop there: he moved to Brussels and set up another goal for his life - starting a new business from scratch. In Brussels, Greeks, as many other communities abroad, are keen on preserving their traditions including a rich food and cooking culture. Having been in contact with several Greeks living in Brussels, Konstantinos soon understood that there was demand, but that people did not have enough time to search for authentic Greek products – they would rather buy them online. This market assessment led Konstantinos to the idea of creating his own resale business of importing high quality Greek food at a competitive price.

Konstantinos set up Cretan Diet Plus, an online company selling Greek food products. Cretan Diet Plus’ menu includes capers, rusks, herbs, olive oils, organic olives from Passos, honey, or the famous Tuna of Alonnisos. For Konstantinos the quality seal is of major importance: “If we are going to import fine Greek food and beverages, we need to do it well”, claims the entrepreneur. In 2015 Konstantinos needed extra financing that would help him to maintain imports and to keep the stocks full. After banks refused his loan request, he was advised to consult MicroStart, a microcredit company and an EIF financial intermediary under the European Progress Microfinance Facility (EPMF). The loan obtained allowed him to expand the delivery of Cretan Diet Plus products outside Belgium, including Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Today, Cretan Diet Plus has over 350 online customers. Konstantinos was very grateful for the loan: “MicroStart’s support allowed me to continue building up my business and bring the famous Mediterranean diet – the taste of my homeland - closer to an increasingly diversified, international community of customers”. Konstantinos is now working on a business plan for new developments in Cretan Diet Plus, namely the opening of physical shops in the BeNeLux countries.

Company: Cretan Diet Plus, Belgium
Type of business:
Import and Sale of Greek food products
EU-guaranteed loan from
MicroStart : EUR 25,000


For further information about EIF intermediaries in Belgium, please refer to:
http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/be/

 

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