Words by Sean Douglas
Richard Branson, like many successful entrepreneurs has a knack of taking a good idea and making it great. He did it with music, he did it with airlines and now he’s doing it with crowd funding…well kinda. If you haven’t already been caught up in ‘Pitch to Rich’ fever, either you haven’t been on the internet for months or have one hell of an email filter. If that’s you, here’s the lowdown on Pitch to Rich.
Richard Branson’s initiative to find and fund the UK’s most exciting business idea, is in full swing and takes elements of Dragons Den, Kickstarter and The X-factor to create the mother of all business competitions. Anyone with a viable business idea can submit it to the website and members of the public vote for their favorite business idea. Business’ that make it to the short list will then be in with a chance of winning £150k!
One entrepreneur hoping to get some of Rich’s riches is Dyslexic chocolatier Louis Barnett. Louis founded Louis Barnett Chocolates at the age of 14 and for the last ten years has been supplying overseas clients and some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets. The success of Louis’ business relies on a steady supply of high grade raw material. Although he has access to some of the world’s highest quality chocolate, he feels more needs to be done to maintain traceability, accountability and ethicasy throughout the supply chain. To solve some of these problems Louis plans to create his own sustainable, accountable and ethical supply chain, taking control of the process from seed to store. To make sure his product is the finest and fairest, Louis plans to mix traditional organic farming and cutting edge tech and smart phone apps to create food tech company Tecnicao.
“We have global positioning tracking systems that allow us, through weather coordination, to grow our corn better, but nobody stopped and said, ‘hold on should we be feeding our cattle corn.’ It actually destroys there stomach enzymes, makes them fat and gives them liver problems. That idea of technology and progress for progress sake is what I think is wrong with the tech industry at the moment. I wanted to create something that is using tech in the most cutting edge fashion. Creating something that would give the consumer back the power to do something about it, and actually really find out and see where there product was coming from, how it was being produced and the traceability between the farmer and you at the end.”
In addition to his chocolate brand, Louis will be creating a phone app which will allow you to scan a bar-code on the back of your product and bring up information about it’s specific journey, even allowing you to pinpoint on Google maps exactly where the product was grown.
Far from being a gimmick to sell his chocolate, Louis see’s the use of this system in his chocolate product as a trail for a system that that can be transfer to a whole host of other industries and supply chains.
Louis has already got the Mexican government on board and is already putting his plans into action at the supply end. He hopes to win the investment from the Virgin Group to help secure the role out of his vision throughout the whole supply chain. If you’d like to see Louis realise to his vision too, you have until Wednesday at 5pm to vote and help Louis get to the next stage of the competition.
The Codpast is a multimedia production from www.extraordinaire.tv