“The concept is a gift item that you give you a friend that has a positive affirmation,” explains Cathie Way, who has developed the idea. “I got the idea from eating a packet of Love Hearts but knowing that many adults don’t really eat them I decided that mints would fit the bill better.”
Thus Affirmints was born. Cathie has since been working with the Enterprise Europe Scotland team to find partners around Europe and a recent e-zine provided just the opportunity she was looking for.
“I had already identified Ireland as a key target market when I saw the story about the Bridging the Border event which was taking place in Dublin,” she says. “I got in touch with Ilona Warbuton from the team in Inverness and she sent me all the relevant information.”
“We had already found market information on Ireland for her using the Enterprise Europe Network,” says Ilona. “When she saw the event she thought that might be a good chance to go over and make contacts through the networking session.”
And make contacts she did! After perusing the delegate list and identifying firms that she wanted to meet with, Cathie was surprised, and delighted, to discover that a Belfast firm had done the same and wanted to know more about Affirmints.
“That was brilliant,” she states. “They are a distribution and logistics company who can offer me a one-stop shop including quality control, packaging, shipping, customs clearance, storage and distribution. They are coming over to meet with me again in a few weeks.”
The Enterprise Europe Scotland team has now put a notice throughout the network to find similar firms as well as assisting in the process of completing due diligence on the prospective partners and searching for funding opportunities.
“I’m a risk manager with the fire service so I had no idea how to go about developing a confectionary business,” Cathie explains. “I have managed to get to this point thanks to attending public sector training seminars and the ongoing support and encouragement of the Enterprise Europe Scotland team.”