Elisabeth Rosado is not your typical entrepreneur. At the age of 17, she decided that she wanted to study anthropology. She never imagined that she would one day take over the family business and that the work would even fascinate her. Today she is 32 and knows pretty much every beekeeper on the Mexican Yucatan peninsula in person. The fact that honey from Yucatan sweetens the breakfasts of many Germans is thanks to her and her family’s commitment.
Mérida. “My grandfather was a doctor and kept bees as a hobby. He took my father along from a young age. When grandpa gave up his hobby, my father took over the colony. Over 15 years ago, the family hobby then became a family business called ‘Tropical Honey’,” explains Rosado. The honey that the company sells today comes from their own colonies as well as from honey purchased from beekeepers in the region. Beside honey in its natural form, the company also produces honey products such as sweets, soap and shampoo. Over half of the honey is exported, with around 60 percent reaching Germany via wholesalers. In 2014, the small business shipped 544,000 euros’ worth of honey to Germany. It is sold by retailers under various brand names.
Rosado wishes to develop her own label in the future. She therefore met with a number of wholesalers during her time in Germany, including Fürsten-Reform and Heinz Grube e.K. “My aim was to find at least one new retailer and to build long-term, efficient business relations with them – as we have had for ten years now with Hamburg-based NOREVO GmbH,” reveals Rosado. She is currently working on obtaining the certification needed for direct exports, and wants to resume negotiations as soon as she receives authorisation. To date, Tropical Honey has always been exported via NOREVO’s Mexican subsidiary. This allowed the honey retailer to outsource the elaborate certification process.
Rosado relies on the support of German technology in the production of her honey. Several years ago, she purchased a machine for the manufacturing of honeycomb from natural materials. This has helped to increase honey production. Tropical Honey uses the honeycomb itself and also sells it to local beekeepers. In Germany, the entrepreneur met with Bernhard Rietsche GmbH, the manufacturer of this machine, and has since purchased a second artificial honeycomb machine for 52,000 euros.
Over the past ten years, Rosado has invested a great deal of time in developing her entrepreneurial skills to fill any gaps in her knowledge and to remain up to date with the industry. This includes various training courses in management and business administration and, most recently, the MP in Germany in 2013. “It is important for me to always be up to date with the latest developments and to continue furthering myself. I want to lead my company with the best strategies,” she says. She likes to prove that she can also do this, too. Since participating in the MP, she has doubled the number of employees to a total of 20 and increased her turnover by 30 percent. Impressed by the systematic German approach, she has had new software developed to enhance company procedures and to be able to better plan and manage purchasing and sales, for example. “The MP inspired me to become better organised. The software is just one example of this,” says the young company manager.