Norfolk Breckland’s ECOspray aims to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides, offering a safe, sustainable solution for food production.
ECOspray aimed to develop naturally based biopesticides formulated from plant extracts, particularly garlic. Garlic has been around for millennia and is well known for its culinary and curative properties, as well as its use in crop pest control. The challenge was to develop a product of sufficient quality and purity to satisfy regulatory bodies
We’re only now discovering some of the problems of prolonged pesticide exposure as well as the associated costs of cleaning up. On the other hand, not treating pests is not an answer either. For example, red mites cause considerable distress to poultry and in extreme cases, death. The UK poultry industry suffers a loss in excess of £4 million per annum just through this one pest.
Research Director Dr. Murree Groom
When their first trials on a North American strain were not a success, ECOspray embarked upon a demanding development programme with a different type of garlic. They were able to produce a very high quality pure extract that was consistent batch after batch, but which still retained its unique benefits as a food grade material.
After many years of development and trials, and an extremely lengthy and comprehensive UK regulatory process, ECOspray received what is thought to be the first-ever European approval for their first product, Breck-a-Sol™. This environmentally benign product can be used to control red mite in poultry houses not only in the UK, but in international markets around the world.
At this stage in their journey, Ecospray turned to YTKO for help with the commercialisation of their products. YTKO provided advice in the development of their domestic and European marketing strategy, including their adoption of e-commerce and a customer relationship management process and system. YTKO also assisted in creating a suite of collateral for their first six target countries.
After many years of hard work, we’re finally ready to bring the first of our products to market. I’m delighted to have been able to work with YTKO on our European commercialisation strategy, and in development of a compelling value proposition and marketing messages for our target markets. I recommend YTKO’s services to any other company operating in a similar marketplace.
YTKO, in partnership with Planet Mark were the lead partners for delivery of the Planet Mark Start programme in the local authority areas of Bristol, Bath and N.E. Somerset and South Gloucestershire. This EU-funded sustainability programme, backed by the Eden Project, helped coach businesses on sustainability, teaching SMEs and start-ups ways to reduce their carbon emissions, cut energy bills and become environmentally sustainable. The project’s ethos was that business sustainability is a global issue that must be tackled locally.
Rapid advancements in technology help to reduce inefficiencies, cutting both cost and environmental impact. Equally, consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of how their purchasing decisions contribute to their carbon footprint and are seeking out businesses that support them in their goal to lead a less wasteful life.
Thank you for your engaging, exciting and informative workshop surpassing all expectations. I would recommend the course to anyone, rating it as a ‘must attend’ session.
The workshop had lots of practical examples enabling me understand the true benefits of sustaining our planet. I anticipate my sustainability strategy will grow, reaching into as many of the sustainable development goals as possible.
Katrina McWhinnie, Founder – the McWhinnie Consultancy
Incorporating sustainability into business goals is set to become the rule rather than the exception. With a business’ reputation now relying more than ever on its commitment to reducing its impact on the environment, small businesses stand to see significant growth if they reduce their waste. Reducing paper consumption is just one example, while remote working can also reduce a business’ carbon footprint. Also, by working with more ethical suppliers and seeking out ways to reduce packaging, SMEs can win over new customers and bolster their reputation.
Reducing paper consumption is just one example, while remote working can also reduce a business’ carbon footprint. Also, by working with more ethical suppliers and seeking out ways to reduce packaging, SMEs can win over new customers and bolster their reputation.
I found it very useful and a nice injection of motivation to keep pushing on with my sustainable business setup.
Chiara – Founder & Creative Lead at Hyphae
YTKO worked with consortium partners to support over 700 SME businesses through a series of events, workshops and 1:2:1 support; this included the development and launch of a digital toolkit to specifically help SMEs understand their carbon footprint.
After taking local action to enhance their sustainability, businesses were awarded formal accreditation that demonstrated their commitment to taking global climate action to suppliers and customers.
Together the project made a real change to how SMEs engaged in the sustainability agenda and contributed to a reduction of approximately 550 tonnes of CO2. Planet Mark accredited organisations achieve outstanding results and cut their carbon emissions by 12% per employee per year on average.
One of The Planet Mark Start’s key success stories is the Young Entrepreneurs Network Association (YENA), a Bristol-based online platform and acceleration community for start-ups:
We believe that any business should care deeply about the impact it has on the world. We refuse to run a business that has a net-loss on the environment and the people within it. Becoming The Planet Mark Start! accredited was a natural choice for us. The ability to know, and show, that we are doing good as a by-product of the work we’re doing, helping with reforestation and lowering emissions by operating in a lean way, sets a standard not only for our future as a company and our peers, but also the hundreds of start-ups in our community at YENA.
YTKO has helped turn around the fortunes for a local, Bristol-based SME, who is changing the way that water impacts energy efficiency in our homes and lives. Halcyan make water conditioners which have the ability to reduce limescale in hard-water areas and improve the energy performance – and lifetime – of white goods in the home; saving energy and reducing waste.
The innovation and investment of resource from Halcyan meant that they truly had a unique product but didn’t understand how to bring this disruptive technology to market.
Halcyan Water Conditioners received bespoke coaching, workshop and networking opportunities as part of the EU-funded Enterprising West of England programme to reinvent their business and increase sales.
Working with Samantha Mant, Head of Sales at Halcyan, YTKO were able to help Halcyan reach two very distinct markets:
Business-to-business: which involved building networks of contacts within the construction and facilities management sector to create a pipeline of opportunities and drive volume of sales. This helped Halcyan to develop their sales funnel of plumbers and installers who could purchase the conditioners and understood the value that they could sell onto their customers.
Business-to-consumer: which helped to promote the ecological qualities of the conditioners to homeowners who could then invest in the system; saving energy, improving the quality of water and lessening their impact on the environment. Part of this approach included a rebrand and new website.
YTKO Head of Sustainability, Phil Stott, said: “This is a classic example of a business with real innovation and ecological responsibility at its core. The issue is that sometimes these businesses need help bringing this innovation to market.”
Samantha Mant, Halcyan, said: “The support we received from YTKO was really important to create a sustainable business model to go with our investment in the ecological technology that we’ve developed. Without their guidance we would have struggled to realise the two-pronged approach to our marketing and it was particularly useful to have individuals with direct experience of working in the sustainability sector.”
YTKO, in partnership with The Planet Mark, have helped local Bristol bar The Strawberry Thief to set a new standard in sustainability. As part of the EU-funded Enterprising West of England programme, YTKO are able to offer businesses, like the Strawberry Thief, the opportunity to get to grips with their carbon footprint and understand which steps are viable for them to improve their performance.
CEO and “Chief Thief” Mike Harris recognises that the programme had been incredibly useful in creating a business which reflected his own values, not least as the support went beyond simply looking at energy efficiency but tailoring an approach specifically to the needs of an SME which is looking to set a standard across the hospitality sector.
Mike Harris said: “The business case for sustainability has never been more relevant. We all want to make the right decisions to protect the planet but it must stack up financially for our businesses.”
“When an organisation works with YTKO they will identify ways to help their business financially, as well as environmentally. It really is a no-brainer and I love the fact they can help all types of business from sole traders working out of their kitchens to multi-million pound SMEs with large offices and energy bills!”
As part of the support programme YTKO helped Mike and the rest of the staff at The Strawberry Thief to improve their performance in a holistic way:
Water: Reduced line clean water use by 40 litres per line per week (approx. 12,500 ltr/yr).
Waste: Belgian bottles on deposit & returned to the supplier. Now doing this with local Bristol Dry gin (with £1 saved for every bottle).
Social: All staff on living wage regardless of age, 100% tips and max 40 hr working week, and engaged with charity partner Penny Brohn UK, focussing on health and wellbeing – staff ran Bristol 10k in 2017 and 2018.
Energy: Spent £500 on LED bulbs and on a 100% renewable energy tariff.
“Teaming up is a natural fit for us and a great opportunity to raise awareness of the free workshops which are available. A key part of being a sustainable business is telling your customers about it and we hope that working with YTKO will allow us to spread the word.”
The Treasury has announced a £3,000 grant for businesses that do not pay business rates to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic. Around 700,000 businesses in England currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR) or Rural Rate Relief can apply for the emergency funding.
Last Thursday saw the YTKO West of England team host an event with Bristol 24/7, to celebrate International Women’s Day. The venue was the beautiful Coopers Hall at the Bristol Old Vic and almost 50 business women from the city came together for coffee, cake and networking. Speakers, Sue Turner CEO of Quartet Community Foundation and Nicky Marshall and Sharon Critchlow of Discover Your Bounce, spoke at the event, providing thought provoking and inspirational content around this year’s theme ‘Equal for Each’.
Wednesday evening saw the YTKO team attend the Enterprising West of England ‘Ones to Watch 2020’ awards at the Bristol Old Vic.
This prestigious event celebrated the successes of the thousands of businesses from across Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, who had been supported by the EWOE programme.
GetSet for Growth and Outset clients were very well represented, with clients in every award category which included Female Founder, BAME Leader, Contribution to Community and Young Person in Business.
Last Wednesday saw Get Set for Growth involved in a Business Challenge Day at University of Bristol, with clients Lucy Preston and Tom Harbour from ‘Maths With Parents’. Students from a range of disciplines including Marketing, International Business Management and Economics attended the day and worked in teams to create branding, marketing and social media concepts for the business, with the day culminating in Dragon’s Den style client pitches.
Last Friday saw the GetSet for Growth Team head to Origin Workspace in Berkerley Square, Clifton, for the Pitch 2019 bootcamp, hosted by Bristol’s Box2Media.
The team delivered workshops on ‘perfecting your pitch’ and ‘accessing finance for your business’ to 50 budding entrepreneurs, who had been shortlisted from hundreds of hopefuls. Following the workshops, each contestant gave a 90 second pitch on their game-changing product or business idea.