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The IUP Journal of Entrepreneurship Development :
Building a Business Organically: Johannes Gutmann and Sonnentor
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The case is about Sonnentor, a multinational organic food production company exporting teas, spices, and related products to more than 40 countries around the globe, since the late 1980s. Sonnentor had been selling organic quality products under the logo of the laughing sun from the fields of Waldviertel (“Forest Quarter”), a rural region in the north of Austria. The case examines in detail Johannes Gutmann’s entrepreneurial journey and focuses on his strategic decision. The company was on constant profitable growth for 25 years. The case also discusses Sonnentor’s strong emphasis on socially and environmentally responsible behavior and on building the business based on fair partnerships with employees, suppliers, and other partners

 
 

In July 2014, Sonnentor Kräuterhandels GmbH (Sonnentor), one of Europe’s leading companies in the organic herbs and spices business, forecast an increase in its profit from ordinary operations to €2.8 mn ($3.8 mn) in fiscal 2013-14 from €2.51 mn the previous year. The company expected its revenue to reach €30 mn in fiscal 2013-14. Sonnentor attributed its growth to the opening of new stores. With these new stores, Sonnentor had 21 stores in all at the end of June 2014.

Since the late 1980s, Sonnentor had been selling organic quality products under the logo of the laughing sun from the fields of Waldviertel (“Forest Quarter”), a rural region in the North of Austria. The original business idea was to market herbal specialties of the lower Austrian organic farmers nationally as well as internationally (Refer Exhibit I for Growth of World Organic Food Market).