“We were forced to invent something to be able to work from home and thus give time to my son and generate money. I decided that I was going to opt for salt because it was what I had within my reach and what I already knew,” he says.
Because of this need and because he had been interested in working with salt for some time, he decided to create a family microenterprise dedicated to the packaging and distribution of this product, which he called Fedusal21. “Its name is due to the initials of two of my sons, Felipe and Juan Eduardo, salt for the product and 21 for the trisomy of the youngest,” he explains.
In the beginning he started selling the salt in its natural state and then professionalized the process, so he made an alliance with the salt farmers of Lo Valdivia in the sixth region to obtain the raw material. He was in charge of choosing the salt, taking it to Temuco, cleaning it, drying it, mixing it with natural spices, packaging it, labeling it and distributing it. Already constituted, in 2019 he applied to the second version of the Impulso Chileno contest, an initiative of the Luksic Foundation, where he won one of the first places.
With the Impulso Chileno prize, which consisted of $10 million pesos to finance his project and 6 months of academic accompaniment with the UC School of Management, Miguel has been able to streamline and strengthen his production. He acquired an industrial oven, a mixer and various supplies: “It has helped me a lot because I used to dry the salt with a conventional oven and had to dry two kilos every 20, 25 minutes. Now with the industrial oven I can dry 50 kilos at the same time”.
The quality of Fedusal21’s products led this enterprise to be recognized with the golden seal by the Chilean Association of Roasters, which aims to recover and give identity to the Chilean barbecue and Chilean ancestral cuisine.
Eduardo Elgueta, president of the association, explains that they formed a committee of experts in different matters and decided to create this recognition for products that comply with excellence in terms of branding, advertising contribution and quality; in addition to all legal aspects.
“Miguel has a product of excellence, today it is the best processed sea salt on the market, it is the only one that does not contain moisture and is perfectly granulated. For us, it is the top of the market in terms of branding, blends, quality and types of packaging. It has all the formats which makes it worthy of this award”, explains Eduardo and adds that those who obtain this recognition is because it is a product highly recommended by the association.
Miguel Valencia is proud of his achievements and the progress made in his venture. He says that little by little he started knocking on doors to open stores and that a great leap was when he was able to open 40 stores. Today he already has 96 stores nationwide and aims to reach 120.
“As a good entrepreneur, you start by insisting a lot until you get results. Being the winner of Impulso Chileno is one of the greatest achievements. More than the award itself, it was the recognition that they saw in my project something that is not going to collapse tomorrow, but it is a project that is already running and that today we are the best sea salt in Chile”, says Miguel proudly.