Today’s young entrepreneurs realise they can make a real difference to an issue they care about whilst running a profitable enterprise
17th November 2009, Edinburgh: Joe Frankel, the Edinburgh-based eco entrepreneur who founded Vegware, the UK’s only plastic-free food packaging company, has today been announced as Scotland’s only winner of the Future 100 Awards 2009. The awards recognise the contribution of 100 talented young entrepreneurs who advocate sustainable business practices within their industry.
Joe Frankel, 33, launched Vegware in 2006 with the aim of reducing the catering industry’s impact on the environment. His business manufactures and supplies a complete range of fully biodegradable or compostable disposable catering products and offers caterers access to a nationwide waste composting service. Joe is also keen to ensure his company positively impacts the wider environment and in November this year, two years earlier than planned, he launched the Vegware Community Fund, which provides financial support for UK-based non profit organisations promoting sustainability.
In just 3 years, Vegware has progressed from being a start-up operation to becoming a flourishing business with hundreds of clients using its eco disposables. Today clients include Disney and the NHS.
Commenting on his recognition in the Future 100 Awards, Joe said: “It’s fantastic when your efforts are recognised by others and I’m extremely flattered to be included in this prestigious list. Modern business practices are evolving. Today’s young entrepreneurs realise they can make a real difference to an issue they care about whilst running a profitable enterprise. Vegware’s success is absolute proof that sustainable business is a workable business model. In fulfilling our aim to assist the catering industry to substantially reduce its negative environmental impact, we’ve also laid the foundations for a successful and profitable business which will not only contribute to helping minimise damage to the environment, but will also aid the success of other organisations keen to support environmental action.”
With this award, Joe joins a network of dynamic entrepreneurs bringing social and environmental responsibility to a wide variety of sectors, from marine conservation to publishing. The winning entrepreneurs will receive their awards at an exclusive celebration party held this Thursday to coincide with Social Enterprise Day. It will be held at The Hub, a sustainable events space in Kings Cross, London.
The Future 100 awards were launched last year by Striding Out, a Community Interest Company providing leadership, business and career coaching and training services. Heather Wilkinson, the awards’ organiser and founder of Striding Out, said, “These businesses are championing their social and environmental standards within a competitive marketplace and showing that they really can make it work. It's all about hitting the triple bottom line”. She praised Joe, saying he “fits this model perfectly, as he is demonstrating that a business which puts the environment first can also be profitable. We were impressed with his green business model and are pleased to give him this award”.
Vegware hit the headlines last month when it secured a six-figure investment from Bradenham Partners LLP. The company has already brought to market the world’s first fully compostable hot cup lid and is using the investment to fund further product development as well as support UK-based non-profit groups. The first grant recipient of the Vegware Community Fund is Greener Leith, a community group working to promote sustainability in Leith, Edinburgh.
Notes to Editors
1. The manufacture of Vegware’s bioplastic products emits 77% less carbon dioxide than standard plastic used for items such as disposable cutlery.
2. From January to October 2009, Vegware reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 79.5 tonnes and diverted 1% of its output from landfill.
3. As recognition for their award, Future 100 winners will be provided with networking opportunities, media training and business coaching over the year.
Vegware Ltd is the UK’s only food packaging company with a fully biodegradable or compostable range and a nationwide waste composting service. The company specialises in the development, manufacture and distribution of compostable packaging for food service. Vegware’s waste management service collects food and used Vegware packaging from caterers, reprocessing it into topsoil, biogas or compost. Vegware invests in product development and has so far brought to market the world’s first compostable hot cup lid.
Clients include Disney, UK government offices and NHS units. Vegware is owned and managed by its founders. It is based in Edinburgh and distributes out of London, shipping to all over the UK and EU. The company's products are distributed in North America (Vegware US) and Ireland. Visit www.vegware.com for the full catalogue and further information.
Biography of Joe Frankel, Managing Director and Founder Vegware Ltd
• Grew up in Bristol, moving to Edinburgh in 1994 to attend University.
• Gained a first in Maths from Edinburgh University, and was invited to stay on to complete a PhD in computerised speech recognition. He then worked at the Centre for Speech Recognition Technology as a Post-doc Researcher and became a Senior Research Fellow.
• Spent one year on secondment at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California, where he became aware of fantastic recent innovations in bioplastic processing.
• Inspired by the opportunities presented by the new materials, and ready for a challenge outside of academia, he found Vegware in 2006 to offer a practical solution to a growing environmental problem.
• He lives in Edinburgh with his wife and their three children, two cats and one aging hound dog. When he can, he loves cooking, playing music (blues on the piano, bluegrass on the banjo and dobro) and whenever possible, heading for the hills with his family.
For further information please contact:
Hothouse, t. 01293 776060 /m. 077998888316
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