Shaping the future

Start-up idea: sauces like made by mum

Different industries, different characters, their own stories. The paths to success of three young start-ups crossed at the Nuremberg exhibition centre. Part III

Emils has established itself as Germany's first "zero-additive brand" in the organic segment. The success of the Freiburg-based start-up, named after the son of one of its founders, has a lot to do with the taste of mothers. Jens Wages can't help smiling when he tells the story that made him and Michael Wiese founders: "When we found out at a barbecue that the delicious salad dressing made by the mother of a friend of a university student was actually his and that she had passed the recipe on to the housewives in the village, the realisation hit us: "if mothers copy you, it must be good."

For Wages, it was clear: "Our product had passed a market test without our knowledge, which we had never commissioned." The advertiser and the management consultant quit their jobs in 2009, even though their idea of "Purist Convenience" - consistently without additives - was doomed from the start. After all, a leading professor of food hygiene had assured them there was no way it could work. "I think that's actually the only reason Michael Wiese and I took a chance," Jens Wages recalls, "almost out of spite." The fact that they initially also faced headwind from the organic sector itself was even more incentive for the two young entrepreneurs to continue pursuing their business idea.

Supported joint stand as initial spark

The initial spark for Emils was BIOFACH. "The fact that we were able to participate at all was only possible thanks to the subsidised joint stand of the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control," says Wages. At their first appearance in 2011, their stand at the world's leading trade fair for organic food was stormed by interested parties. In 2012, Emils won the "Best New Product Award" from the public. "Long before the discussions about additives and sugar content, BIOFACH and its visitors had the right nose for promising products," Wages sums up. "Without this experience at this trade fair, we might never have taken our company forward so consistently and unchanged."

Founder idea: Emil's purity law: dressings, vegan mayos and ketchup without additives - neither thickeners, nor citric acid, nor yeast extract.

Founder team: Michael Wiese (management consultant) and Jens Wages (advertiser) found the start-up Emils in 2009 with no prior knowledge of the business

Founder tips: Stay persistent and consistent. Never cut back on quality. The desire to make it must be greater than worry and stronger than the voice of those who don't believe in it.

Founders Fair: First appearance at the BIOFACH 2011 in Nuremberg and at the same time the start of the success story "consistently without additives".


The initial spark for Emils was a sponsored joint stand at BIOFACH 2011.

Germany's largest offer for start-ups

Emils Bio-Manufaktur is one of the more than 1,200 start-ups that have taken part in one of the many joint stands for "young innovative companies" or the start-up areas at the NürnbergMesse trade fairs since 2007. With special formats for start-ups at 17 leading exhibitions, NürnbergMesse is number 1 in Germany in the range of products and services for start-ups. Young companies benefit from the know-how of the exhibition and start-up experts, a direct contact person, a good cost-benefit ratio and support with organization and set-up.

NürnbergMesse start-Ups

Nuremberg: Germany's No. 1 trade fair venue for start-ups.

Further information in the NürnbergMesse "Start-up Hub" or directly by e-mail to startups@nuernbergmesse.de.

Read about start-up ideas from the fields of IT security (IT Seal) and pet food (Eat Small) here.

Redaktionsmitglied Reinhold Gebhart
Reinhold Gebhart
Online Editorial // Editor for Vincentz Network
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