Startups Awards Hall of Fame: Andrew Jennings, Berrywhite
Last year's Crowdfunded Business of the Year winner discusses establishing their brand in the schools market and how winning a Startups Award boosted team morale
Founder: Andrew Jennings
Year Started: 2012
The past few years has ushered in the trend of healthier beverage options for consumers. This was recognised by Andrew Jennings, founder of Berrywhite: a range of organic sparkling fruit drinks that is bursting with fruity flavours and health benefits.
Last year, Berrywhite was selected as Crowdfunded Business of the Year after raising £387,000 investment via the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The 170 investors were ultimately swayed by the ethical brand’s organic sugar-free drinks and that’s what also swayed it for the panel of Startups Awards judges, which included Innocent Drinks co-founder Jon Wright.
One year on, Jennings talks to us about expanding into schools and overseas, and what winning a Startups Awards meant for him and his team.
What’s happened in the last year since you entered the Startups Awards?
In the past year we’ve been hugely busy establishing our brand in the schools market, where our delicious flavours and organic credentials are seen as a welcome addition to the bog-standard ‘schools compliant’ drinks on offer. We knew that being of school age is not a barrier to good taste, and this is being proven in the schools where our drinks are available. Our education catering programme has included having a full time brand ambassador for schools and experiential tastings at universities throughout the country – where the feedback about the quality and taste of our drinks has been fantastic.
We’ve also moved office and are now based at one of the fabulous ‘We Work’ shared offices in London where the energy, friendliness and enthusiasm is a great match for us and our brand.
Internationally we’ve expanded our exports to include several new countries in the Middle East.
What’s been the single biggest highlight for the business since winning?
Our most significant achievement in the past year has been the traction we’ve gained in the education catering sector. Funds raised in 2014/15 were used to rebrand and launch our new sparkling organic fruit drinks in 250ml cans, which were the catalyst for gaining entry to schools.
What are you hoping to achieve in the next year or so?
As some schools are unable to take cans, we are now launching a new range of still fruit drinks in 330ml plastic bottles which will also be schools compliant and which have already been accepted by some of our largest customers ahead of the launch date later this year. We expect to do significant volumes with both our new plastic bottles and our cans.
What did winning at the Startups Awards mean to you?
Developing a start-up business takes a lot of hard work and focus, so it’s a great boost to morale for everyone on the team when those efforts are recognised externally, particularly from a reputable source such as the Startups Awards.
Why would you recommend entering awards like this?
The awards process is a helpful one which, like business planning, requires you to give consideration to business activities past and present and assess how they fit into the overall aims of the business. It’s not always easy to find time for this but by committing yourself to enter awards you manage to find time for this valuable deliberation.
To enter the 2016 Startups Awards, click here.