99. The Yorkshire Meatball Co.

Having recently pivoted to a retail offering, this 'ball'-sy start-up makes its third and final appearance in our Startups 100 index

Founders: David and Gareth Atkinson
Founded: June 2013 (launched March 2014)
Website: theymco.com

Pivoting a business, especially three years after trading, can be both risky and emotional for the founders involved but entrepreneurial father-and-son duo David and Gareth Atkinson have taken it in their stride with their recent pivot of The Yorkshire Meatball Company (YMCO).

Startups.co.uk readers will know that The Yorkshire Meatball Company – which features in the Startups 100 for a third consecutive year – was a restaurant chain specialising in “fuss-free” meatballs with locations in Harrogate and a franchise in York.

However, over the past 12 months there’s been a lot of change. Last year, on the back of a surge of new chain restaurant openings in Harrogate which attracted staff away from their venue, YMCO says it had no option but to “close its restaurant operations completely”.

Determined to not give up and admit defeat, the Atkinsons made the call to pivot the business to focus solely on selling a range of its premium brand meatballs into supermarkets. This decision has seen the YMCO brand bounce back.

Now with listings in over 200 stores including Morrisons, Tesco and Asda across Yorkshire, London and the South-East, the YMCO is taking six-figure sales and has a recent £120,000 equity crowdfunding round to support the roll-out of its balls – available in plain, smoky and hot flavours.

While its co-founder David Atkinson admits the YMCO “cannot show itself to be a growth company”, what the YMCO does represent is that it is a survivor.

Having already made in-roads as a new food product on the shelves, the YMCO represents everything about running a start-up business; you might make mistakes and there may be huge barriers to jump but you can, and will, overcome them. For that reason, the YMCO is a deserving Startups 100 2017 winner.

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