Hotline developer: ‘A producer did not help me, but used my idea’ | NOW

What entrepreneur does not want to come up with a solution or product that no one had thought of before? In this series, entrepreneurs talk about the hole in the market they discovered and how they got there. This time: Sandra van Houwelingen-Ramadhin developed a Surinamese cooking line and cookbook for anyone who wants to make Surinamese and would like to know more about the culture.

What: Sorgh & Hoop, Surinamese spice pastas, salsas and rubs made from natural ingredients
WHO: Sandra van Houwelingen-Ramadhin
Since when: 2021

How did you come up with the idea?

“I want to tell the story of Suriname and thereby build a bridge between Dutch and Surinamese culture. In the late 1990s, I started restaurant Sorgh & Hoop in Rotterdam. It should be like going out for an evening in Paramaribo. A train “People stood in line for it. I was named Black Businesswoman of the Year in 2004. Three years later, I quit the restaurant because I wanted more time with my family.”

“Later I made a cookbook with stories told by three aunts: a Creole, a Hindustani and a Javanese woman. Surinamese cuisine is a mix of cultures. It is a book for people who want the Surinamese dining experience but do not have time. enough. for “I spent hours in the kitchen. Herbal pastes are mentioned in the book. When I showed the cookbook to friends, they immediately wanted to know where they could buy those pastas. Then I started looking at how I could get them in the stores. “

How did you do it?

“I started by making the basic recipes and looked at what professional parties I could involve. I found a great producer. They would not help me in the end, but they used my idea. It was a hard lesson. So I decided for I had to knock on the door of a product developer in the Jumbo supermarket themselves, they would not immediately cooperate with me. I spent so much time improving the products. Then they were very excited. Now my brand is available in all Jumbos in the Netherlands. “

It’s quite special, does it feel that way?

“Yes, at some point another big supermarket chain came out. I did not know what happened to me. But I will always stay cool. I now have a partnership with Jumbo and will do everything for an optimal partnership. I also want to stay close to myself and still have time for my mission. “

What exactly is that mission?

“It’s already in my company’s name: taking care of each other and giving each other hope. The two things are very important to me. My ancestors are Hindu contract workers who ended up in Suriname. I grew up with chicken curry and pork chops. Surinamese cuisine and hospitality working together in such a way that everyone can now make a Surinamese meal with my products and cookbook and learn more about their Surinamese neighbor, colleague or friend. “

“My dream is to do something for women entrepreneurs in Suriname.”

Sandra van Houwelingen-Ramadhin

“Part of the profits from Sorgh & Hoop go to women and children in Suriname. We send money and goods. I want people to be able to be independent and self-sufficient.”

What has entrepreneurship taught you?

“I used to have a lot of debt in my companies, and it also put a lot of financial pressure on me. No longer, we do everything for our own money. I have also learned to put as much as possible on paper, so you have to do not have discussions about agreements later. “I only work with companies that understand me: from factories to suppliers and designers. They know the product has to be good and fair. “

What plans do you still have?

“First I have to make sure that the cooking line and the cultural cookbook are well on their way. I want to develop a spicy-sweet chutney. It would be very nice if women from Suriname could handle it and build their own lives. My dream is to “Do something for women entrepreneurs there. As long as I can do something for the people of Suriname, I’m happy. I’m a little older now, but I can always find the energy for that.”

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