The bakery was supported from the program aimed at strengthening research and development.
In recent years, the Hungarian state has supported start-ups thought to be innovative, mainly from EU funds, in the order of hundreds of billions. In one of the support rounds, the state investment manager Hiventures distributed HUF 35 billion among more than three hundred companies based on a list of contracts that is difficult to find on their website.
One of the biggest winners of the program aimed at strengthening research and development was an Argentinian bakery
– wrote G7.hu.
Empanada Story, which specializes in empanadas, the Argentinian filled dough ball, received the largest lump-sum investment, 500 million forints. This was the highest possible amount under the EU program, in exchange for which the state acquired a 40 percent stake in Empanada Story.
The founder of the business Miklós Nagy who grew up in Argentina and was 15 years old when he moved to Budapest with his family. In the cited 2019 interview, Nagy also talked about the fact that they would like to sell in Austria within 1-2 years, and that they would also target the German market with a larger plant. Empanada Story was also sensitively affected by Covid, but at the same time, in the summer of 2021, Hiventures entered the business with HUF 500 million.
The deal apparently conflicts with the requirements and spirit of the support program at several points, the economic portal wrote. Pursuant to EU support, Hiventures can invest in projects implemented in less developed regions – that is, outside of Central Hungary. Accordingly, at the time of the investment, Empanada Story was registered in Kerecsend, a town with a population of 2,000 in Heves county. Apart from that, however, there was no public indication that they did not operate in Budapest. An additional condition of the investment is that the companies involved should also engage in research and development.
The only publicly noticeable result of the investment was that a new bakery was opened in the Nyugati tér underpass in Budapest, on the site of the former Burger King, instead of the store on Nagymező Street, which had closed down in the meantime. However, the store, handed over last summer, operated for roughly half a year and was closed at the beginning of 2023. The image of the bakery can still be seen in the underpass, the business premises are currently for rent.
In 2022, the company had sales revenue of HUF 182 million and a loss of HUF 170 million. The paper also asked the Magyar Fejlszétsi Bank and its subsidiary Hiventures about the innovations that led to the investment of HUF 500 million in the company and how they evaluate the investment, but they did not answer, as did the Emapanada Story.