SPAR builds a community of entrepreneurs

SPAR has continued this year to provide professional training to small domestic enterprise suppliers that have put products on the shelves of the retail chain. The company also helps to build the entrepreneurial community: thus, suppliers participating in the Treasures of Regions or Hungaricool programmes can expand their partnership network, in addition to earning professional skills.

Pandemic, energy crisis, inflation – these are just some of the challenges that all Hungarian enterprises, including food industry small businesses have had to face in the last couple of years. SPAR Hungary highlights the importance of supporting domestic family and small food businesses, and this is why it launched the Hungaricool product competition in 2019, and since 2021, the regional supplier development programme “Treasures of Regions” (Régiók Kincsei) has been providing products from domestic small-scale producers to shoppers at the retail chain.

SPAR has recently commissioned a survey with businesses participating in the programmes to find out what their biggest challenges were in the current economic climate and which skills would help them to progress in their efforts. For 76% of respondents, learning the right negotiating skills is important, while how to stay competitive (64%) and how to develop their price strategies (64%) are almost as important. 60% said the role of brand communication was important in times of an economic recession and 40% wanted to gain more knowledge on how to expand their customer base. Also, the main things they expect from trade events are practical knowledge, networking opportunities and exposure to current trends. The second occassion of the SPAR Marketing Bootcamp could give them just that. The two-day event not only gave more than 100 suppliers the opportunity to participate in a wide range of professional training sessions, but also sought to find answers to what is needed to cope with the uncertain economic situation.

“At the bootcamp, we made it a priority to reflect on the economic situation, so several presentations addressed this topic. In addition to current issues, we also covered all four areas of the traditional marketing mix in depth, because we see that there is a need for this,” explained Attila Tollas, regional procurement team manager at SPAR, one of the speakers of the SPAR Marketing Bootcamp.

“The event also has the undisguised aim of enabling suppliers to build relationships, get to know each other and exchange their experiences. We aim to build an entrepreneurial community and from the feedback we get, we seem to be on the right track,” he added. He highlighted that suppliers can learn not only from professional materials, but also from getting to know similar businesses and having the opportunity to find solutions to problems jointly. The event is very popular among SPAR suppliers, with respondents giving an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 when asked if the bootcamp lived up to their expectations.

Positive feedback was also confirmed by one of the participants, Klaudia Demeter. “We attend several events like this, but the SPAR Marketing Bootcamp stands out. We can get marketing, strategy and communication materials tailored to the food industry from SPAR and the invited experts. This is also a great opportunity for networking, because we finally meet entrepreneurs like us,” explained the owner of Demeter Chocolate Kft.