In conversation with Franco de Tomas, an Uruguayan entrepreneur and CEO of Gozate NZ
- Here he is talking to Multicultural Times’ Katherine Tomaylla.
How did you become an entrepreneur? Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Since I was a kid, I always wanted to do something awesome, bigger than just myself. I always felt the necessity of helping others and make them smile, trying to find a way to make their day better and add some positive vibes to their lives. I guess that's how everything started, with a feeling, because sometimes that's all it takes, just a feeling to know you're on the right direction, the right path.
What is an Aalfajor? And a Dulce de leche?
An Alfajor is a soft biscuit-dulce de leche sandwich coated in a chocolate couverture. What is dulce de leche? It is the traditional South American caramel used for generations to create legendary recipes.
How did you get your start? How and why did you open Gozate NZ?
Well, everything started because I truly love these biscuits. Since I was a kid I used to eat them every day, for breakfast, tea and sometimes even dinner. When I came to New Zealand my first biggest surprise and problem was that there were no Alfajores. How is this possible? They don't love them here or what? And I wasn't the only Latino with this problem. Many other Latinos had the same issue, and they all used to talk about it. Everyone was very disappointed and sad because a part of our culture was missing in this new and amazing land. That's why after a few years living here I couldn't stand any more without my precious Alfajores and I had to do something about it. So a group of us friends started working together, doing a lot of research and trying to find a way to start making these biscuits in New Zealand. Gozate NZ is a result of that.
Now, we feel our mission is to share some happiness, show everyone a little more of our Latino culture and share some love through this amazing and yummy biscuit. It is not just about eating a biscuit with South American caramel. What we're offering here is a whole new experience for those who haven't tried them yet and haven't been to South America as well. It's a chance for them to know what we eat and how we feel when this sweet classic treat is in our hands ready to be eaten. For those ones who have tried them before in South America, well, we don't need to describe it for them, they'll know what we are taking about.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
I'd say passion is the key point. You can do anything in life, but if you're not passionate, are you really being yourself? Are you enjoying the process? Are you loving the impact you are causing on someone else s life because your passion and dedication? I think more than the money and recognition you can get out of a successful business, the most important thing is the feelings you create in people, the good vibes you can produce In them, the happiness you can bring into this world because your hard work and dedication. And that's what is all about, making this world a better place, putting the best of ourselves to try to help others to enjoy themselves.
How you promote the collaboration between New Zealand and Uruguay by your product?
To keep the real South American taste we are working together with Barkers in Geraldine. They import the dulce de leche directly from Uruguay and deliver it to Continental, our manufacturer in Rangiora. That's why there's a Uruguayan Flag in our Logo, to let everyone knows this is a South American product made here in New Zealand.
What is the commitment of Gozate NZ to promote the Latin culture in New Zealand?
Part of the Gozate team are Latinos and the other part are Kiwis. But us, as Latinos, we love our culture and our traditions. We are here, on the other side of the world, away from our people, from our land, looking for something greater than just ourselves and that includes making sure everyone gets to know our amazing and loving culture, full of joy and fun, full of happiness.
But we would also like to thank all our Kiwi friends who have helped us along the way, to develop and manufacture this awesome product, full of love and good vibes. This include Food South at Lincoln University, Continental Catering Rangiora, Formula Foods, CopyPrint, Barkers and Bakels.
You can find Gozate NZ at www.gozatenz.com.