59: From corporate job to running a sustainable urban farming business with 7 figure backing in just 3 years - Kate Hofman of GrowUp

"I listen to your podcast, please can you interview my neighbour?" This was how I was introduced to Kate Hofman who with her co-founder has set up an innovative aquaponics business. For those of you not in the know aquaponics is basically a system whereby you grow fish and plants together. The waste from the fish provides nutrients to grow the plants which in turn cleans the water. This system ticks many boxes from an environmental point of view, having high conversion rates of inputs to...


58: Lessons I've learned from successful crowdfunding campaigns - Guy Jeremiah, Ohyo

I really enjoy watching companies I admire develop. So when Guy collaborated with Felix Conran to produce a foldable bag and was using crowdfunding to fund it, I wanted to know more. I pledged to buy one of the bags as a christmas present for my husband and so experienced the campaign he ran on Kickstarter, and wanted to know the inside story on raising funding this way. You may remember I interviewed Guy in episode 15, and he famously got savaged on Dragon's Den for trying to get funding...


57: How to get into a career in social enterprise and impact investing - David Kyle, Founder of IBL

How do I get into a career in social enterprise and impact investing? David Kyle was asked this question again and again, so decided to provide a solution by founding a unique programme called Impact Business Leaders (IBL). IBL is a unique social enterprise running six program centers in India, Kenya, The Netherlands, Nigeria, the UK and the USA. It aims to support regional social enterprises with local talent while allowing professionals to build meaningful careers in their own communities....


56: Turning down a grad scheme to set up a drinks company - James Shillcock, Founder of Vivid Drinks

In this interview I talk to James who is the dynamic founder of Vivid Drinks. James saw an opportunity to bring a healthy version of iced tea to the UK market. This category is huge globally but not big in the UK. The popularity of green tea has been rising in the UK and Vivid Drinks seems set to capitalise on a drink that focuses on improving our mental energy. Having worked for Deloitte for a year prior to university he was due to start on their graduate scheme but delayed his start date to...


MDE 55: Creating a network of ethical and competitive factories, co-founder of Ethical Apparel Africa, Keren Long

Passionate about textiles at school, Keren Long forged a career in retail with big names such as Marks & Spencer and then Asda's new retail arm 'George'. Her strength in maths led her to a career in merchandising. When Walmart bought Asda, Keren moved over to set up a sourcing function where she did 3 years looking after kidswear - spending 40% of time in Bangladesh, India , Turkey and China. This was the early days of the 'value' retailing, resulting in low-cost jeans as low as £4! When...


MDE 54: Book Review of 'Start Something That Matters' by Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS

TOMS is one of those companies that have come up with a unique business model which is inspiring other entrepreneurs who are motivated by more than just money. From my generation The Body Shop showed the world how products could make a difference, and as soon as I heard about TOMS (which was many years ago now) I was excited as I knew this was a new kind of business model, one that was simple to understand and effective. For those of you are not familiar with the company, TOMS was originally...


MDE 53: Building an organic spice business committed to fairtrade and the environment, with Axel Steenberg

'There is no discernible logic as to why we set up the business' says Axel Steenberg of Steenbergs, which specialises in Organic FairTrade spices, herbs and Teas. A scientist and accountant by background Axel and his wife Sophie, a former journalist, set up the company based in North Yorkshire in 2003. Passionate about not only the quality of their products (they do rigorous product testing) but also the environment, fair-trade and treating their employees well, the company has grown to employ...


MDE 52: What I've learnt from interviewing inspirational entrepreneurs, with author Gerry Thompson

Gerry Thompson has sold half a million copies of his 17 books and is the co-author with David Mellor of the new book 'Inspirational Gamechangers: How the best Business Talent Create Astonishingly Successful Companies'. He has interviewed entrepreneurs like Jamie Oliver, Sir Richard Branson, Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream and Arianna Huffington, amongst many others. He works with technology companies, banks, accountants and a host of other corporates to use comedy in their business,...


MDE 51: Helping people be proactive in their career, Jane Barrett co-founder of The Career Farm

I have been asked a few times now to be interviewed for my own show! So I decided to turn the tables on myself and ask my husband to ask me the kind of questions I ask guests. I wasn't allowed to see the questions beforehand so it was off the cuff and slightly nerve racking. Even after 16 years of doing my own thing I am still learning and that is probably why I still enjoy what I do. I get to meet great people from all around the world who are bright and ambitious and I work with them to take...


MDE 50: Putting great causes on the map, Clair Challenor-Chadwick of Cause UK

Clair Challenor-Chadwick started her career in the City of London. After seven years of “doing her time” she was ready to make a change, and moved north to beautiful Yorkshire (we're biased!) to be closer to family and to seek the elusive “work / life balance”. In 2010, at the nadir of the UK economy following the 2008 financial crisis, she set up Cause UK to provide professional PR and marketing services to charities, social enterprises and public sector bodies. Even though these...