Silver Fox of the Year 2012

Joseph Sopher of Joe & Seph's Gourmet Popcorn

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Joseph Sopher of Joe & Seph's Gourmet PopcornDirector: Joseph Sopher Year Started: 2010 Website: www.joeandsephs.co.uk

At age 50, Joseph Sopher's existing business went into administration and whilst he thought he would enjoy some peace and relaxation he couldn't quieten his entrepreneurial mind and spirit. After two years of thinking and planning, Sopher kept returning to his lifelong fascination with popcorn and in November 2010 Joe & Seph's all-natural, gourmet popcorn was born. In just two years, the business has already bagged eight Great Taste Awards, including two Gold Stars, as well as listings across a variety of customers including Selfridges, Wholefoods, Waitrose, pod, Picturehouses and W Hotel. It's a proposition that has captured the imagination of the press too with coverage in Tatler, Wallpaper and John Torode and Gregg Wallace's Daily Mail column, where the presenters of Masterchef “couldn't get enough” of the popcorn. The business is also rapidly expanding, the packing and production facility has been outgrown four times over and there are now 12 dedicated staff working to keep up with demand. Not only that, but they're exporting, to 100 stores in Spain and to 200 stores in Canada and the US. After finding his initial inspiration for the business in the popcorn loving US, for Sopher, the export back is a sure sign of the business' burgeoning success.

Judges' comments:

The judges loved this innovative and already successful start-up and its products. Joe and Seph's award-winning popcorn and strong brand have already led to a long list of top food retailers stocking it. Perhaps even more impressively, the two year old business is already profitable on turnover of close to half a million pounds.

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