Europe’s Most Inspiring SME Owners


Europe has a rich history of entrepreneurship with many successful small businesses, and many more are emerging every day.

Small businesses are the backbone of the European economy. They provide jobs, promote innovation and contribute to economic growth. According to the European Commission, small to medium-sized businesses “represent 99% of all businesses in the EU.”

The European Union has been supporting small businesses for years by providing funding and developing programs and policies to help them grow and innovate.

Small businesses in Europe have a fantastic opportunity to grow and thrive. These owners have shown us what determination, creativity, consistency, and the dare-to-do-it attitude can do.

Tim Westwell and Sebastian Pole

Balance Media
Image Source: Balance Media

Pukka was founded in 2006 by Sebastian Pole and Tim Westwell. They are a small business that sells organic herbal teas. Pukka Tea is a British company that has been in the industry for over 10 years.

Pukka Herbs
Image Source: Pukka Herbs

Pukka Tea is an innovative company that focuses on natural ingredients, sustainability, and fair trade practices. They aim to provide the best tea experience possible for their customers by having their tea sourced from organic farms, recyclable packaging, and fair trade practices.

Pukka Tea is a great example of how a small company can make it big in the industry with innovation and creativity.

In July 2017 Unilever acquired Pukka Tea.

Manon and Marlon Wessels

Das Scheone Leben
Image Source: Das Schoene Leben

Das Scheone Leben (since 2016) is a concept store based in Havixbeck, owned by Manon and Marlon Wessels. Grow with Google describes the store as a space that brings “high-quality and attractive delicatessen and design products into people’s everyday lives.”

When the recent pandemic hit, the duo utilized digital means to make their shop accessible to people of all ages across Germany. They started to focus on online advertising and search engine optimization to keep existing customers and attract new ones.

Das Scheone Leben
Image Source: Das Scheone Leben

According to research, small firms in Europe with effective use of digital technologies were able to establish a “digital safety net” throughout the pandemic, resulting in 80% higher sales and 60% higher income.

Their innovative idea for the store comprises three parts: food, design, and graphics. People will find a range of products like interior decorations, alcohol, and home accessories. The products are designed using graphics and typography to make them into a piece of art rather than simply a commodity.

Lucy Buckingham

Get the Gloss
Image Source: Get the Gloss

Lucy Bee is a UK-based small business that originally sold organic coconut oil but soon they included a wide variety of natural and healthy lifestyle products for skincare and bodycare.

Lucy Bee’s innovation is to create a range of organic, eco-friendly, ethically sourced products that are affordable for everyone.

Lucy Bee
Image Source: Lucy Bee

Lucy Bee has a strong focus on sustainability and environmental protection which is why they use recyclable packaging for all their items. They also ensure that their ingredients are ethically sourced by partnering with suppliers who share the same values as them.

Julian and Paul Zehetmayr

Trend.at
Image Source: Trend.at

When Julian and Paul Zehetmayr were looking for a creative outlet in their lives, they found themselves turning to two things they love: art and technology. The two brothers created LimeWire, which is a small business that specializes in handmade and hand-painted pieces.

CNET
Image Source: CNET

LimeWire has revived as a “digital collectibles marketplace” for art and culture purposes, focusing on music. The venture was also given a new logo design. LimeWire allows you to easily manufacture, acquire, and exchange NFT items.

Jacob de Geer and Magnus Nilsson

Business Wire
Image Source: Business Wire

Zettle was founded in 2012 by Jacob de Geer and Magnus Nilsson, who are both Swedish entrepreneurs. They were PayPal employees at the time, but they wanted to create something that would be of use to all small businesses.

Zettle
Image Source: Zettle

Zettle is a small business app that lets you take payments on the go. It’s designed to make it easy for small businesses to take credit card payments, manage their business, and grow.

Jan Koum

Vyapaarjagat
Image Source: Vyapaarjagat

Jan Koum’s entrepreneurial success story is one that can be replicated by many other people who want to become successful entrepreneurs themselves. Koum is a Ukrainian-born American who moved to Silicon Valley and started a messaging app called WhatsApp in 2009. In 2014, Facebook bought it for $19 billion.

Whatsapp
Image Source: Whatsapp

In an interview with Financial Times, Koum said, “I’m just focusing on building new things here,” he said. Whatsapp, his innovation, has become one of the most popular messaging apps for both individuals and businesses.

Paddy Cavanagh-Butler

Brummell Magazine
Image Source: Brummell Magazine

Punchy Drinks is a British small business of high-end artisan soft drinks founded by Paddy Cavanagh-Butler. The secret to their success is in the flavors this brand offers. The idea is to offer healthy soft drinks while not sacrificing on good flavor.

Punchy Drinks
Image Source: Punchy Drinks

According to the founder, the soft drink industry is in a “transitional period” where people are innovating and experimenting with new concepts of how to produce, design, and distribute drinks.

Mark Fane and Peter Clay

The Telegraph
Image Source: The Telegraph

In 2000, when the millennium hit, both Mark Fane and Peter Clay founded an online plant delivery company called, Crocus. It started off as a small business venture in the UK with a venture capitalist backening, and today it stands as the “biggest gardening website” so they claim.

Crocus
Image Source: Crocus

Crocus is not simply a website that sells plants but one that educates the people coming to it about plantation and gardening. It consists of a plant dictionary that contains the Italian name, the commonly used name along with the size and price. It also offers inspirations for different types of places, and moods.

Ending Note

The European Union has been encouraging people to start their own businesses and has offered incentives for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and hire more employees. The EU believes that this will help create jobs and reduce unemployment rates in the region.

In a world where the economy is dominated by large corporations, it is refreshing to see young people who are trying to make a difference. These small businesses are often family-owned and operated, which makes them more personal and gives the owners an opportunity to be involved in every aspect of their business.

Do you own an inspiring, creative, and/or innovative small business somewhere in Europe? Send us your profile at marketing@zilliondesigns.com to get featured here.



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