Siva Parlar | Vöner Oy

Siva Parlar | Vöner Oy

“There are days when you just want to quit it all, but you just don’t give up.”

Siva Parlar’s mental health has been stretched to its limits at times during his ten-year career of restaurant ownership. It took him a long time to learn that he could not do everything by himself. Suomen Yrittäjät has been an important way for Parlar to meet like-minded people and receive guidance in difficult situations.

Siva Parlar, from Helsinki, who originally dreamed of becoming a pilot, ended up following in his parents’ entrepreneurial footsteps with his head full of hopes. However, he quickly realized that the daily work of an entrepreneur was far from a dream.

“Nothing goes the way you think it will when you run your own business. There have been moments when it’s been really financially tough and I hadn’t seen my friends in month,” Parlar recalls.

A new entrepreneur is often put to the test. Financial uncertainty and mental coping go hand in hand. That also happened to Siva Parlar. Before coming up with his plant protein innovation, Vöner, he had had a long career as a restaurateur. He put in long hours around the clock, but the cash register was empty. In the beginning, he was not even able to pay himself a salary. He hit rock bottom when his restaurant once served a total of two customers one lunchtime.

“I had to do a lot of work to get customers coming back in. I spent a lot of nights in the restaurant coming up with recipes. But creativity is at its best under pressure, and you come up with all sorts of ideas in the wee hours. That’s how Vöner saw the light of day,” Siva Parlar says.

Forward with grit

Grit and a resilient character helped Parlar, and he did not give up.

“I believe that all of us business owners share the same character. We move forward with our sights firmly set on our goals. There are days when you just want to quit it all, but you just don’t give up.”

Parlar believed he would make a breakthrough sooner or later. And he did. The Vöner was the big vegetarian invention of the time and part of the Finnish vegan food revolution.

“I’m still amazed by how we could create a product that would be one of Finland’s most consumed plant proteins.”

It took Siva Parlar a long time to learn that he could not do everything by himself. Suomen Yrittäjät has been an important way for him to meet like-minded people and receive guidance in difficult situations.

“Along the way there have been people who charge hundreds of euros per hour for their services but have nevertheless helped me for free. You don’t forget encounters and people like that, and no amount of thanks will ever be enough,” he says.

Parlar recommends Suomen Yrittäjät membership and its mentoring services to everyone.