Isabel Atzinger, BA is a graduate of the Bachelor's degree program in Wirtschaft & Management for Professionals, is equally passionate about riding and has been a trainer for many years. She has managed a horse boarding stable herself and is a certified nutritionist for horses. With Carevallo she has turned her absolute dream into her profession and works every day with the most wonderful animals in the world.
Together with her partner Benjamin she founded Carevallo. Benjamin supports Isabel in all technical matters. This enabled them to set up their own manufactory here in Tyrol.
Bernd Kirschner, head of the Wirtschaft & Management for Professionals bachelor's program, talked to Isabel.
- How did the idea for founding Carevallo come about?
The idea behind Carevallo is my Irish Tinker mare Mandy. About 10 years ago, she got sore all over her body. Examinations, allergy tests, many vet visits followed, but the cause was not found. Supplemental feed, using lotions – nothing helped. After I had invested a lot of time in the subject of horse feeding, read numerous studies, pored over specialist literature and gradually tested and adapted the feeding over months, the long-term success came. The problem lay in the wrong feeding, the solution in a feed ration tailored to Mandy's individual needs. My mare Mandy no longer chafed – and has not done so to this day. She is now 29 years old and top fit for her age. As a horse trainer and former manager of a horse stable, I knew that other horse owners also have such problems and as today's nutritionist, I realize how many of these problems we can actually prevent and remedy through individual feeding. And because there was no feed manufacturer across Europe that creates an individual feed mix for each horse, I founded Carevallo in 2018 with the support of my partner Benjamin.
- What is particularly important to you as an entrepreneur?
It is important to me to also take social responsibility, to put quality in the foreground and to pay attention to sustainability as well as regionality. It is not for nothing that our mission is to make horse feeding healthier for horses, easier for riders and more sustainable for the environment. Unfortunately, one observes all too often that pure green-washing is done in order to enhance one's image. We, on the other hand, really want to make a difference and are now launching our first own tree project in the Stubaital. We help to reforest the protection forest in the Stubaital by planting small fir trees. In addition to this larger project, it is a matter of course for us to pay attention to sustainability in all company processes – our 100% paper packaging is only a small part of it.
In times of the pandemic, it is also especially difficult for all therapists in the field of equine assisted therapies for people with special needs. That's why we've launched a fundraising campaign for therapy horses as part of our crowdfunding efforts. Everyone can participate and help make therapy with horses possible even after the pandemic! This is a personal concern for us.
- To what extent did studying business & management help you set up for Carevallo? Did your studies prepare you for self-employment?
Studying at the MCI definitely prepared me for the different areas of an entrepreneur. I knew where to inquire, where to look, and most importantly, I already knew my way around finance, marketing, etc. Even though it is of course something completely different to work on something in your studies and then actually start a business. Anyway, I'm glad I decided to study at MCI because the approach here is already very practice-oriented.
- What were the biggest challenges on your way to self-employment?
That's really hard to answer because as an entrepreneur there are challenges to overcome every day. Some bigger, some smaller, but you have to overcome them all – and you do. I think the startup itself was a challenge. For a start-up, a constant challenge is, of course, funding. Because if there's no one else who has the same product as you, then there are no industry figures, no comparisons, etc. – no figures that can be relied on. – no figures that banks, for example, can rely on. But we grow with every challenge!
- Do you have a tip for our students who are now thinking about founding a startup?
You have to burn for your idea! Only then will you have the stamina to fight for your dream day after day, to put a lot of work and by that I really mean a lot of work into the idea to make the company successful. I personally had to realize that many people wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to founding a start-up. You think of fancy parties, lots of money.... however, the reality is different. A start-up is a risk and means first and foremost a lot of hard work! Therefore it is advisable to found in a team, to be able to support each other, to motivate! I would exchange ideas with other founders beforehand - with successful ones, but also with those who have failed. Simply to have a realistic view of it. To all those who are aware that it means a lot of work, I would advise – do it! By all means do it, because you will learn day by day, you can develop yourself enormously and it is a lot of fun and joy to bring your idea into the world and to put a smile on people's (and in my case horses') faces!
- Was it difficult to get startup funding?
The funding landscape in Austria is hardly manageable and we first needed a phase of familiarization to find the right funding opportunities for us. Before Corona, there was a diverse selection of funding – unfortunately, with the pandemic, the number of possible funding opportunities has drastically decreased. Grants have been reallocated to "Covid-19 grants." However, since we are a young company and need to grow, the current measures do not apply to us. For this reason, we thought about how we can finance ourselves differently and came up with the idea to start a crowdfunding campaign. Since the end of March, our Startnext campaign is now running and so far very successful! Within the campaign, riders but especially non-riders have the opportunity to support and promote us as a Tyrolean start-up.
Dear Isabel, thank you for the interview and good luck with your campaign!
Isabell Atzinger and her horse Mandy. Photo: Carevallo - photosarti.at
Currently Carevallo has launched a crowdfunding campaign, here gladly the link and invitation to support it: