There are young start-ups and very young start-ups. Together spoke to Samy Bouzid, one of the driving forces behind Wakwhite. It calls itself “a large family of 15 young motivated and dedicated people, a mini-company marketing a product out of the ordinary”. Wakwhite is based on a part of a root from the shrub ‘Salvadora Persica’, whose properties – certified by numerous scientific studies conducted by the World Health Organization and the National Centre for Biotechnology Information – whiten the teeth and strengthen the gums.
These young people are supported by FIL Sprl, with whom they have entered into a partnership. In addition to consultancy, coaching and financial education, FIL Sprl runs a project to develop entrepreneurship among students. Wakwhite’s coach is a student in second year of Medicine and is also one of three partners in the business.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
At the beginning of the school year we discussed within the group and tried to set up a new concept, mixing ecology, hygiene and practice into one single product. A member of our smart enterprise went to Morocco for three months and proposed this idea.
How did you raise the finance?
The finance is raised by our financial director, Laurent Pasternak, who gave us seven shares in the business to sell to our parents and friends. That created our starting capital. Then we strengthened our internal finance and economic standing by selling our Wakwhites.
Who do you see as your target audience?
Our target audience is everyone! Each person needs brushing teeth. For children, our products can help them to learn the good habits for an hygienic mouth. And for workers and active people who don’t have a sink at work – they can use our ecological toothbrush after a meal or before an important meeting.
You are Uccle-based, how helpful has the commune been?
The city council helped us at the beginning of our journey. In November they let us use a room in the town hall to present our plans to our own shareholders.
How does the ‘artisanal’ production line work in practice?
The tech team works every day to make sure that all our customers are satisfied. We care a lot about hygiene so we have produced a very practical packaging using beech wood from our forests. We use a stick of beech that we cut in two separate parts, a base and a cap. Our packaging looks like a lipstick. My technical director Luyckx Diego set up production with separate teams, with each team made up of three people. First of all, one team cut the stick of beech. Secondly, after we hollow out the stick of wood, a team sands it down. Then we polish the stick and put the root in the stick