Mia McCarthy, CEO of Yummia

Mia McCarthy is the founder and CEO of Yummia, located in Australia. Mia was motivated to develop a range of ready-to-go bircher muesli products after she noticed a gap in supermarket shelves, after trialing and testing the product on family and friends Mia took Yummia to local shops, cafe's and restaurants selling her muesli mix. From there Yummia has grown to now be stocked nationally in supermarkets across Australia and 2016 is the start of international export. Yummia has expanded of the initial bircher muesli mixes and is quickly becoming an identifiable breakfast brand. Mia's passion is developing new products and innovation in the FMCG food markets.

In 2015 Mia was accepted to study at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford, completing a PGdip in Strategy and Innovation, under Professor Chris McKenna.

Q: What is your background?  Why are you doing this?
A: My original university undergrad degree was to become a primary school teacher. When I was in my final year of teaching I started experimenting with different bircher muesli products, not long after that I started selling bircher muesli to family and friends and as they say the rest is history. I never went officially into teaching as the business took off soon after and became a full time proposition.

Q: What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
I think an entrepreneur is inquisitive, they do their best learning through doing and trying. An entrepreneur looks at a any product and wonders if it can be done a different way.  

Q: What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
It was never really a decision I made one day, rather a journey of growing a small food product made at home and continuing the grow the brand and business.

Q: So what would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
1) Problem solving – always looking at better ways to achieve efficiencies.
2) Confidence – you need to back yourself, because you will come up against lots of people telling you your idea won’t work.
3) Decision making – you need to make the final decision, make a decision but be flexible because you may have to change your mind quickly!

Q: What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
I love the doors running Yummia has opened. I never thought I would get the chance to study at Oxford, although my experience with Yummia enabled me to do so.

Q: What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
I had a dance teacher when I was younger, named Hanne Larsen. She built up a good business in Sydney with a dance school, and then has gone on to achieve amazing success with another dance school in New York City called Downtown Dance Factory, all while raising 4 children. She has built a viable product out of her passion of dance.

Q: If you could have 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?
We would probably have a coffee (or a cocktail), I would discuss how she took a product built in Australia to a new country. What needed to change.

Q: What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
Sometimes I just get a kick out of seeing my product at my local supermarket, although coming third at the World Dairy Innovation Awards in Amsterdam in 2015 was pretty exciting. We were up against major international MNC’s and beat most of them!

Q: What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
Probably letting too many people take too much of a cut to early on. The more fingers in the pie the less money the business can make. It’s good to outsource, however be really really selective about what you absolutely need to outsource and what you can do yourself.  

Q: Any last words of advice?
Learn from your mistakes and take every opportunity!