Celebrating Entrepreneurs

By: Michael Myhre, Florida SBDC CEO and Network State Director

Concluding with Small Business Saturday, National Entrepreneurship Month is an opportunity to recognize and honor the determination of our nation’s entrepreneurs, whose ingenuity transforms the way we live and do business -- and in Bonita Springs-based Sweet Odin’s Danish Bakery's case, for making life a little sweeter.

Family-owned bakery's sweet success

Nestled off U.S. 41 is Sweet Odin’s Danish Bakery, a bakery that represents a family tradition that has been passed from father to son since 1949.

sweet_odin'sOwners Michael and Kevin Olesen represent third and fourth generation bakers. Michael’s grandfather, Christian Olesen, immigrated to Racine, Wisconsin from Denmark and opened a Danish bakery. Christian taught his son the craft and the tradition has continued ever since. Michael and son Kevin moved their families to Southwest Florida and opened Sweet Odin’s in 2013.

Sweet Odin’s offers hand-made Danish pastries, such as Kringles—or Danish coffee cake. Oval-shaped and filled with fruits or nuts and topped with vanilla icing or sugar, Kringles are made using a special 32-layer butter technique. In addition to Danish pastries, Sweet Odin’s offers an assortment of fresh-baked items and a breakfast, lunch, and soup menu.

FSBDC at FGCU helps entrepreneurial dream come true

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Kevin Olesen, co-owner of Sweet Odin's, with family mementos

Thanks to the assistance of the Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University, Kevin and his family have made their dream an award-winning success. For the past two years they have been named the "Best Bakery in Bonita Springs."

"Without the [FSBDC at FGCU's] initial help I never would have gotten my business plan off the ground, which means that I never would have gotten my start-up loan...There literally could be no better place to go to find the information," offered Kevin.

For Kevin, the hard work is worth the reaction of his customers.

“For me the most rewarding thing is actually seeing everything come into fruition,” he said. “You put the hard work and you can actually see the result…. Coming to work every day and seeing what I make everyday come out and make people happy, that’s what gives me the most satisfaction.”

Think big, shop small

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to engage with thousands of entrepreneurs. I have witnessed firsthand their passion and the impact that they have in our communities and for our economy. At the Florida SBDC, we know that owning and operating a business can be one of the most rewarding, yet challenging experiences in life. This month, we would like to say thank you.

On behalf of the Florida SBDC, we encourage you to think big this month and throughout the holiday season by shopping small. To find a small business near you, click here.