A combo picture shows the percentage of calories at a McDonald's fast food restaurant near Birmingham, Alabama  November 11, 2009.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES FOOD BUSINESS)

A combo picture shows the percentage of calories at a McDonald's fast food restaurant near Birmingham, Alabama November 11, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES FOOD BUSINESS)

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Stevia Sweetener Accidentally Discovered

By Columns FOXBusiness

Small Business Spotlight: Pyure Brands, @PyureSweet

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Who: Ben Fleischer

What: An all-natural sweetener made of stevia

When: 2008

Where: Naples, Florida

How:  Pyure Brands specializes in natural and organic stevia-sweetened solutions. In addition to a retail line, founder Ben Fleischer says the company supplies a lot of the raw material to hundreds of food and beverage manufacturers globally.

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“We’ve been growing 300% year after year,” says Fleischer. “We’re in the seven figures for annual revenue.”

Fleischer says he came up with the concept for Pyure after attempting to develop a healthier version of Red Bull without sugar or artificial sugars. “I came across stevia, and had a light bulb moment,” says Fleischer.

Biggest challenge: Fleischer says the company’s biggest challenges were building up distribution and creating brand awareness on a limited budget.

One moment in time:  Fleischer is proudest of staying true to his vision for the company. “I never compromised my business,” he says.

Best business advice: Fleischer says the best advice to entrepreneurs is to find a need and then sell the product that fills that hole in the market.

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