The road to entrepreneurial success
A story of business acumen, a strong educational background and the sale of a business worth millions. Henrik Fly Sevelsted, former owner of Afrika-safari.dk, talks about how he became a success in the travel sector and offers good advice for other entrepreneurs.
The great success of Afrika-safari.dk was achieved through a combination of the Business Development Engineer degree programme and a collaboration with Business Factory, a business incubator at the Department of Business Development and Technology in Herning.
Henrik Fly Sevelsted gives us the recipe for his entrepreneurial success and explains how he is now helping new entrepreneurs.
“I chose the Business Development Engineer degree programme because I wanted to start my own business when I graduated, and on this programme I could get a lot of input on how to do so. I set up my travel agency with a fellow student, Paul Cristen Bredahl, immediately after we graduated. The business soon became one of the largest in Europe within safari travels.”
The recipe for success
Henrik Fly Sevelsted believes that the great success of Afrika-safari was due to a combination of many factors:
“The degree programme is the reason we became so successful. The programme, and thereby Business Factory, gave us the opportunities and showed us the way. We were given a set of professional tools, a strong drive and a professional way of thinking which enabled us to manage the business in a more optimal manner. Business Factory definitely played a great role in the success of our company,” says Henrik Fly Sevelsted.
The success continued until the company was sold at a considerable profit in 2014.
Today, Henrik Fly Sevelsted works at Eliten.dk, a business incubator aimed at people who are trying to start their own company - primarily within IT. Or in their own words: ”Eliten works with new and existing IT companies within e-commerce, apps and web services and helps them achieve growth.”
Eliten.dk offers companies free office space shared with other IT entrepreneurs in the so-called Business Factory at the Department of Business Development and Technology at Aarhus BSS. Here, you can stay up to date with the latest online trends and spar with other entrepreneurs - both new and experienced. Eliten also offers consulting services focusing on the financial and legal aspects of setting up a business. All new companies are assigned a mentor, who follows and guides the company upon its launch. As an entrepreneur, you also get access to Eliten’s investor network and good bank connections.
According to Henrik Fly Sevelsted, being able to pass on his experiences to new entrepreneurs via Eliten.dk is incredibly giving:
“There is a shortage of IT and online companies in Herning, and I would like to contribute to doing something about that. It’s also a great pleasure to witness the success and growth of others. I can only encourage others to take the plunge and start their own business,” says Henrik Fly Sevelsted and concludes by offering some good advice for new entrepreneurs:
Don’t be afraid of reinventing the wheel
Too many entrepreneurs believe that they have to invent something completely new which the world has never seen. It is perfectly possible to build a business on an existing product, as long as you excel on a few parameters. You also need to know the risks involved with starting your own business. Do not risk more than you can afford to lose.
Afrika-safari.dk was founded in 2006. To begin with, the company offered hotel and flight bookings, but the competition was fierce, and the two students soon realised that they had to find their own niche to survive. That is how it all started - with just one destination in South Africa. Since then, the business was expanded to include Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Uganda. Soon after, the company introduced other destinations such as Norway, Sweden and Germany, which ended up being the largest market. Later on, the company also offered trips to South America and Asia.
By 2012, the company was one of the best travel agents in Denmark, and in terms of earnings it was the best in the market. The owners wanted to move on and chose to sell the company - selling 70 per cent to a private equity fund and selling the remaining 30 per cent in 2014.
Henrik Fly Sevelsted
Birk Centerpark 40