Savvina and Nikoletta were selected to be among the 15 beneficiaries of the agri-food acceleration program of the “New Agriculture New Generation” organization, presenting their outside the box business idea. Their goal is to introduce alternative chickpea products to the Greek market, which they will produce and process themselves in their own model cottage industry.
The two sisters come from the town of Komotini, Greece, where they live and work. Savvina, the youngest of the two sisters, having graduated from the school of "Agricultural Technology" at the Technological University of Crete, is working in the field of agricultural production and has taken over the cultivation of about 100 acres of the family, with the help of her father. Nicoletta on the other hand, a graduate of the School of Marketing and Advertising in Thessaloniki, now lives and works abroad as a Visual merchandiser.
Komotini is an area where the main crops one can found are cotton, barley or wheat. But Savvina and Nicoletta had a different idea of the culture they wanted to develop. As a child, Savvina wanted to become an agronomist, as she and in fact, it was and remains her "dream" to be able to create her own cottage industry.
So, Nicoletta, now living and working in Germany, saw that chickpeas are a legume that is widely used, especially by people who choose a more vegetarian or healthy diet. "I saw a huge momentum in the market but also a lot of possibilities for processing the product," says Nicoletta. So, knowing that her sister always had a desire to create her own home-made business, she suggested that they start with chickpeas.
Savvina does not want to use chickpeas in the traditional way. Instead, she wants to create and launch in the Greek market various alternative chickpea products, such as hummus or ready-made mixture for chickpea meatballs, chickpea flour and much more.
"My business idea is to highlight and put on the market different products made from chickpeas, which are a rich natural source of nutrients," says Savvina. Also, in each package of their products, there will be interesting recipes, tips, and ideas for side dishes, as well as the nutrients of chickpea and the benefits that its consumption offers to our health, so that people can begin to see the reasons why they should include this simple but miraculous product in their everyday diet.
Savvina, planning to start her own chickpea production and processing industry, decided to apply for participation in the program "Agroanelixis-Cottage industry" and after qualifying for the top 30 successful contestants, she then managed to be among the 15 beneficiaries of the program.
Both sisters take courses with great interest in the agrifood acceleration program implemented by the “New Agriculture New Generation” organization, each in her own field, Savvina in the field of agricultural production and Nicoletta in marketing and sales.
"The program was beyond our expectations," says Nicoletta, while also saying that “in addition to theoretical knowledge, we spoke with renowned professionals from the agri-food sector, who shared with us experiences and business tips. We probably could never have acquired this kind of knowledge, even in 10 years of work ".
Savvina and Nicoletta have already started, with the help of the “New Agriculture New Generation”’s team, to set up their laboratory, while with the funding they will receive through the agri-food acceleration program, they will be able to buy some of the necessary equipment for organizing their own chickpea cottage industry.
In a first stage, their products will be addressed to the Greek market and their goal is to be sold either in small delicatessen stores, or online. Also, all the packaging of their products has been designed with the aim of being either recyclable or reusable. For them the use of environmentally friendly products is imperative and thus, they want to create a cottage industry with "environmental awareness".
It is obvious by discussing with them that both Savvina and Nicoletta are determined to work hard and purposefully, to create their own cottage industry. From August they will have the first harvest of chickpeas and thus, the processing and marketing of the products is expected to take effect in the last months of 2021. "We work methodically, this was the most important lesson I believe we took from our participation in the program “Agroanelixis – Cottage Industry"", says Savvina, adding that, "as our mentors keep saying, one step at a time, always with attention and respect for the product and for the consumer ".