pbMeet Leslie Fhima, CEO of Powerbark. 

Today is FAB (Food/Agriculture/Beverage) Friday and MN Cup will be featuring a series of local food entrepreneurs on Fridays, asking them questions about their business, and getting their insight on the Food Innovation Community in Minnesota. PowerBark was at MN Cup's EAT Event, on February 5. 

Tell us who you are – what do you do?

I'm a personal trainer and, weather permitting, I take my beloved dog, Sadie, with me everyday to work. That means she misses her meals until we get home much later, sometimes evenings. One day in 2007, I was eating a protein bar between clients and I looked over at Sadie, giving me a sad look watching me eat my bar. That's when I had my Aha moment.   Why not formulate dog food in a bar?! The idea for PowerBark was born.

What are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

  • Communication: Maintaining clear lines of communication with customers either via e-mail or by phone, as well as making sure that the message you send through your website and social media is the right fit for your business.
  • Sales: Whether you're pitching your idea to a big company or talking to someone about your product at a party, you're selling. Tapping into your sales skills is key.
  • Strategy: I think it's important to always think about the bigger picture of your business and not just the "right-now." Knowing your competition and your industry is a must, so having your constant eye on your business strategy is imperative.

What has been the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome?

As a female entrepreneur, I am finding that securing funds for a start-up business may still remain more difficult for women. Women have proven themselves to be innovative, creative and intelligent hard-workers who are capable of multi-tasking. However, it is still primarily an audience of men that currently provide financing and funding opportunities. Going in front of such an audience and walking away with the resources we need to take PowerBark to the next level has been a bit of a challenge for me and my partner. It is clear that the world still needs more entrepreneurial women who prove to be equal to men. It is only then that the money for investing will come easier.

Give us your advice for aspiring food entrepreneurs… in 6 words or less.

ONE WORD - Rollercoaster! The road is lined with NO'S that will eventually lead to one YES.