cake startup

Cake Start-Up



try founder characteristics
risk startup adventure
recipe innovate extensively
dialect seminar entrepreneur
bakery take risks apprenticeship
shape average opportunity
donate coordinate silver platter
initial prospects crowdfunding
retiree venture supplement
pension isolated make ends meet
setup survive according to
share add value responsibility
attitude caterer demonstrate
solely ambition motivated
gap noticeable responsibility
gender stumble in that respect
frank influence role model
achieve optimistic stumbling block






Katherina Mayer, Company Founder: “My typical characteristics are that I enjoy trying new things, I like taking risks, and — as always — I’m ready for adventure.”

After she finished university, Katherina Mayer and a friend founded a startup, a small business with an innovative idea.

Katherina Mayer, Company Founder: “Kuchen Trauch is a bakery in Munich that serves as a meeting place for elderly people, who come to us with their recipes and baked cakes.

And we sell their cakes.

We came up with the idea because we both said, ‘our grandmothers’ cakes are delicious, so why can’t we buy them anywhere’?”

Part of the job is exchanging information and experience with other young entrepreneurs. Katherina often attends startup seminars.

For this one, she’s traveling from Munich in southern Germany, to Berlin.

Katherina Mayer, Company Founder: “No one in my family grew up in the East, or lived there at any time, so I have personal contacts to share experiences with.

When I go to the East, I don’t notice all that much of a difference; nothing that would make me think, ‘Oh, now I’m in the East’.

Of course, there’s the dialect, but there’s also a difference between the Hamburg dialect and Bavarian, so it’s perfectly normal for me.”

Katherina was born in Munich on June 1st, 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell. She spent her childhood both in the city and the mountain of Bavaria.

After finishing school, she did an apprenticeship in hotel management. At university, she studied social and health management.

Along the way, she traveled extensively. In 2014, she and a friend, Katherine Blatchka, founded their bakery.

With their above average education, the two are typical of Generation 25.

Katherina Mayer, Company Founder: “I have all the opportunities I could ever want: I can say from one day to another, ‘I’ll do this, or I’ll do that’.

I’m well educated enough to be able to try anything.

When I see many people who grow up in other countries that have a lot of social problems, I can only say, ‘I have prospects for the future, and I can shape it myself without being told what to do.”

But it wasn’t handed to her on a silver platter: sometimes the cofounders spend up to twelve days in a row in their office, or in a bakery, coordinating the work.

They collected most of the money for their initial equipment by crowdfunding — donations amounted to €25,000.

Crowdfunding is a pretty common way to finance ventures for Katherina’s generation.

Baking takes place three times a week. Twenty-two retirees work here part-time to supplement their pensions.

Katherina Mayer, Company Founder: “You see increasingly that senior citizens nowadays are more isolated, and that they are having difficulty making ends meet.

So we thought it would be great to make use of their skills, and have them bake here, professionally.”

The cakes — up to 90 a week — go to cafes, restaurants, caterers and other companies in and around Munich.

Katherina Mayer, Company Founder: “Right now it’s still difficult. We pay ourselves very little so we can survive, but we notice we can pay more every month.

To me, success means setting up and putting into operation, something that adds value to society.”

Katherina’s attitude is one she shares with many young professionals. According to a recent study, they want companies to demonstrate social responsibility.

Most highly-educated young Germans aren’t motivated solely by ambition: only 37% said they wanted to make it to the very top of their profession.

But there is a noticeable gender gap — almost half of all men say they want to achieve a leadership position; only a third of women have similar ambitions.

Katherina says there is also still a difference between Eastern and Western Germany in that respect.

Katherina Mayer, Company Founder: “I can very well imagine that role models are still different, because West Germany was very much influenced by the US: freedom, frankness and a career ambition — the idea that anything is possible.

I think that was quite a strong influence . . . but now that’s 25 years ago. And maybe some things changed after all those years.

My greatest fear of course is that we’ll fail and what we thought would work, won’t.

But otherwise, I’m a very optimistic person, and that you can get something good out of every failure or stumbling block.”

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1. Katherina Mayer trained as a baker, became an apprentice, a fully qualified baker, worked as a baker . . . and then started a cake startup. True or false?

2. What gave her the startup idea? Does she attend conferences, seminars, workshops, symposiums, meetings and gatherings on baking, cakes and pastries?

3. Does her startup employ full-time, professional bakers working in a bakery Monday through Saturday? Describe her program.

4. Which does she prefer, a big, structured, hierarchical company with bosses and managers; or being independent and making her own decisions?

5. The co-founders borrowed money from the bank to start up their enterprise. Is this right or wrong?

6. For Katherina, does success means maximizing profits and “exploiting” the senior citizens? Do they sell cakes to individual customers?

7. How ambitious are people? Is there a difference among nationalities, age, gender and education?

8. Are eastern and western Germans the same or different? Why might they differ in attitudes, ideals and values?


A. Which is better, restaurant meals and cakes or your grandmothers’ cooking and baking?

B. What do senior citizens usually do? How do they spend their time? Would they be interested in baking or other hobbies?

C. Could you duplicate Katherina’s enterprise or program in your city?

D. If you had lots of crowdfunding support, what would you do?

F. There is a generational difference in terms of work, career and success. What do you think? How ambitious are (young) people? What is important to them?

G. What will happen in the future?

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