In the Carlson School building, there is a lexicon of breakout and conference rooms, but no commercial kitchen. That was something the student start-up 6 Desserts would have to find for itself—just another necessity to succeed in not only the Entre in Action class it was a part of, but in the real consumer market.
6 Desserts was inspired by the natural, vegan, wholesome foods that Laura Hyypio, ‘16 BSB, found while studying abroad in Copenhagen, and her passion and business rationale won over six other students in the 25-person class.
As 6 Desserts developed, the team dove head first into the complexities of the food industry, learning how to navigate the food regulations from places as local as Hennepin County to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A commercial kitchen and nutritional information were just two of the requirements in addition to the budget, operations, and marketing tasks that come with any other industry business.
Every decision was made by the students, but they knew who they could turn to for guidance. John Stavig, ’86 BSB and director of the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship, and Roy Wetterstrom, ’86 BSB and the undergraduate director for the center, instructed the class and offered up their experiences, resources, and networks.
By the end of the school year, 6 Desserts had created two desserts for four retail partners. One dessert was a chocolate coconut sunbutter cup, and the other was a chocolate peanut butter cup, both six ingredients or less to follow the mission statement in the business’ name.
Although 6 Desserts disbanded two months after the class ended, the students accomplished the goal of the class: to understand the commitment and passion startups need to get off the ground and to experience all of the bumps along the way.
“Case studies marginally help compared to the feeling of making mistakes and getting great successes on your own,” says Hyypio. “6 Desserts could write a textbook about the experience of a dessert start-up, but it would still be very different than someone else’s.”