ETHICAL entrepreneurs have joined a vibrant start-up community after propelling them to success with their innovative business ideas.
EISA Tea Co and PROHEMPOTIC use the popular retail space on Great Darkgate Street in Aberystwyth.
The retail unit is part of the New Skills Fresh Start programme, a UK government initiative funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund, led by the Ceredigion Council and implemented by Antur Cymru Enterprise.
EISA Tea was one of the first companies to step up and successfully sell its ethically sourced Welsh and international sustainable products, winning over £20,000 in grants through a series of competitions held by AberInnovation, including the BioAccelerator program and Productivity to Prosperity.
Owners Emily Knipe and Amy Aed are now using that investment to move forward and test three new canned beverages that will appeal to the “conscious consumer” and meet demand for a sustainable alternative in the iced tea market.
Meanwhile Jamila La Malfa Donaldson, PhD student at Aberystwyth University, celebrates the support of her start-up PROHEMPOTIC after securing over £10,000 through the University’s InvEnterPrize competition, as well as the use of AberInnovation office space, £1,500 access to freelancers with Revolance and a £500 prize for growing rural resilience and innovation network.
Jamila now uses the commercial space to gather feedback and access mentorship as she continues to research industrial hemp for its buildup of therapeutic compounds while creating new product lines, including a new hemp seed drink.
“I am in the very early stages of the business, so getting this grant and having the support of Antur Cymru will allow me to push my vision forward over the next few months,” Jamila said.
“I will use the Trade Space as a platform to get consumer research and review my marketing messages, then I can eventually test the products and start trading.
“It will be a great experience for me, so I’m looking forward to seeing how things progress and I’m grateful for the support I’ve received so far.”
Emily reinforced those comments and said the Trading Space is an example of the city’s growing reputation for advancing entrepreneurship and sustainable start-ups.
“I don’t think we would have had this opportunity anywhere else in the country,” she added.
“The AberInnovation competitions will allow us to progress with EISA Tea Co and thanks to Trading Space, we have been able to test and sell our range of ethical products.
“Being able to interact with customers and get their feedback in person has been invaluable and has opened up other opportunities and a new audience for us, as well as advice and guidance at the ready on the spot, which has been very beneficial.”
Trading Space project manager Julie Morgan congratulated the two companies on their successful funding and said their approach and vision was exactly why they launched the project.
“These companies are beacons of best practice and prime examples of how this initiative can provide start-ups with a safety net as they test their ideas and lay the groundwork for future business success,” said Julie. .
“Through their wins in the competitions they have shown what fantastic and eco-friendly concepts they have and I am so happy that we can help them on their journey – good luck to you all.”