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Ettevõtlus - 18.12.2019

SEB Growth Program participant FoodDocs expands successfully on large foreign markets

SEB Growth Program participant FoodDocs expands successfully on large foreign markets Photo: FoodDocs

FoodDocs, offering a digital food safety platform, is creating a digital dashboard for food handling companies in the growth program. The real-time dashboard gives the companies an overview of the food safety at any given time, simplifying thereby their document management.

Efficient digital solution helps customers of large countries

When joining the SEB and European Innovation Academy Growth Program, the FoodDocs team had two big ideas according to the product manager Karin Repp – transparent food safety and a wish to expand successfully on foreign markets. Expansion proved to be more important when involving the investment and the selection included Ukraine and a country with the largest number of food companies in Europe – Germany.
The solution of FoodDocs helps German customers to digitalise their outdated food safety paperwork and the Ukrainian customers to find a solution to the government regulation that requires each food company to have the EU food safety system in place from September 2019. Opening the sale in Germany as well as Ukraine has been successful. The target client group in Germany includes retirement homes and hospitals, as in an aging society we expect that the existing number of 30,000 retiring homes will grow annually. Germany has a state aid program, supporting each retirement home with 12,000 euros in implementing digital solutions. In Ukraine, negotiations are held with several large retail and catering chains for the implementation of the FoodDocs system.

Mentors make you shift your ideas

In 2018, FoodDocs won the largest business idea competition in Estonia called Ajujaht (Brainhunt) and this is where the idea to join the growth program emerged according to Karin Repp. Having seen the SEB Growth Program introduction during Ajujaht, there were no doubts that this is what the company needs to make a growth spurt.
According to Repp, the greatest value of the growth program is face-to-face dialogues with the mentor Alar Kolk and the trainer of Empowerment - Andres Haavel. “With their insight and computing skills, they managed to amaze us repeatedly. We analysed our company’s growth plan and business model thoroughly over and over again,” Repp said and added that different parties complement each other from different angles. For example, the European Innovation Academy employed the ambition on how and in which direction the company should grow fast while the Empowerment considered the fact how to strengthen the team and design the management systems given such growth, and SEB bank in turn - how to finance the process.
The program was quite extensive for FoodDocs and there was plenty of homework. One needs to be devoted and find time; however, it was not considered complicated. Repp recommends taking time to participate in the trainings included in the program, as she considers the trainings of Alar Kolk, the mentor of the Growth Program and the founder of the European Innovation Academy legendary. “Alar can make everyone think differently and come out of your everyday routine.”

Read more: What does the growth program offer to companies

Motivation and future collaboration opportunities

The FoodDocs team included three members of the management, however all employees of the company were able to participate in the web trainings for self-education, to ensure that they are still involved indirectly in the program and would share their ideas. For successful completion of the program FoodDocs considers it important to have sufficient motivation and high goals. Inspired by the growth ambitions, Karin Repp brings the following comparison: “You set the 10th floor as target, you reach the 5th. You set the 5th floor as target, you only reach the first.”
Lots of good contacts were made with many entrepreneurs during the growth program and thoughts of further collaboration emerged with Ursus OÜ, manufacturing biodegradable food containers, which is well compatible with food business. FoodDocs also sees a good cooperation opportunity with SEB, the created digital solution of which is a good possibility to test different SaaS business payment solution options in the European Union as well as in other countries.

The Estonian startup FoodDocs was founded in 2017.
Over less than two years, FoodDocs has been financed by EE and the investors, has won the competitions Ajujaht and Prototron and offers a complete solution to more than 2000 customers in Estonia, the Ukraine and Germany.
The founders of the company, product manager and food technologist Karin Repp and the marketing and sales manager Katrin Liivat have been active in food industry for more than 30 years.
The FoodDocs team also includes a dog named Ruudi, who is a leading happiness specialist.


The application to the next SEB Growth Program is now open!                                              

All companies with digital growth, export or other growth ambition are encouraged to apply. Please send your applications by 9th of February 2020.                                           

Reili Lehis
SEB Customer Communication Manager




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