Manuko – Matthew Hardie

Meet Matthew Hardie. Founder of Manuko, premium organic products, handcrafted in Australia from the finest organic ingredients. This is his entrepreneurial story.

Where did you get the idea for your business?

Frustrated by the difficulty of finding fast, healthy and tasty food, Matthew decided to create something “good for our taste buds, health and the planet: a win-win-win.”

How did you get your business started?

“After graduating, I came to the realisation that pursuing a conventional career path wasn’t for me” Matthew says. “I began Manuko in a spare bedroom through an agreement to rent a friend’s commercial kitchen. RMIT had asked me if I could create an organic trail mix for an event they were holding. This was the starting point I needed. In one week I developed five products. I started knocking on doors around Melbourne, introducing store-owners to it. I had an almost 100 percent success rate at getting my products into the shops! From there, I began to develop relationships with distributors.”

Today Manuko is distributed to over 90 stores across Australia, with the possibility of going international this year. Talking about life before Manuko, Matthew reflects, “I didn’t know much about entrepreneurship prior to starting Manuko. I had a natural inclination towards entrepreneurial endeavours although I didn’t realise it was entrepreneurial at the time. The entrepreneurs I was inspired by were change makers in the world, so I guess my idea of an entrepreneur was a change maker.”

How important is it to have a business mentor?

Matthew speaks highly about the value mentoring has had on his journey. “Having studied at RMIT I was fortunate enough to be connected to Activator as an Alumni. I was offered personalised mentoring for both business and personal well-being which was great!”

What lessons have you learned so far on your business journey?

When asked what qualities he believes are most important for entrepreneurs to possess, Matthew selects commitment and determination. “You need to really own this entrepreneurial spirit and actualise it in the world, even if it seems impossible and the odds seem stacked against you. I believe it starts out as potential, and only through practise and work does it become honed as a craft.”

Matthew Hardie is a graduate of the RMIT Bachelor of Business, International Business (2008), and the RMIT Certificate IV in Small Business Management (2012).

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