June 12th 2015

Taste for the top.

How to turn a local business into a global operation.
Franz Senfter, President, Senfter Holding AG, Innichen/South Tyrol

In the framework of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series, the Entrepreneurial School® recently welcomed the South Tyrolean entrepreneur Franz Senfter, who transformed a small family butcher’s in the village of Innichen into one of the biggest companies in the Italian food industry. He spoke about its exciting history, the continuous process of expansion, his recipes for success and also the setbacks.

Having first increased the volume of production and range of products based on traditional South Tyrolean bacon, Senfter set about standardizing his products and built up a stable national distribution network. With his natural curiosity, Franz Senfter was quick to take a look at markets in other countries and to that end attended various trade shows and conferences. He saw that there was considerable interest abroad in an Italian product range, and his decision to move onto the German market proved a turning point for the business. With his sixth sense for promising developments and new markets, he also entered into a joint venture in China in the 1990s.

The little butcher’s shop, which was the point of departure for what is now a company with annual sales totaling 700 million euros, still exists on the village square in Innichen, and Franz Senfter stresses how important he finds his involvement in South Tyrol. That is reflected in the various South Tyrolean companies which he controls as Chairman of Senfter Holding AG. Apart from the food sector, they cover the business areas Tourism & Transport, Real Estate & Agriculture and Media as well as his commitment to local material flows.

One of his next goals is to enter the American market. For Franz Senfter, such goals and visions, which always involve a three-year incubation period, are one of the keys to his success. And should something not go according to plan, he said, the solution is to treat every problem as an opportunity.

The event, which concluded with a lively discussion, was chaired by Professor Bernd Kirschner.