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Ethical entrepreneurs join vibrant business space and power to innovation glory

ETHICAL entrepreneurs joined a vibrant start-up community after powering to success with their innovative business ideas.

Both EISA Tea Co and PROHEMPOTIC are utilising the popular Trading Space on Great Darkgate Street in Aberystwyth.

The retail unit forms part of the New Skills New Start programme, a UK Government initiative funded via the UK Community Renewal Fund, led by Ceredigion Council, and delivered by Antur Cymru Enterprise.

EISA Tea was among the first companies to take up space and has been successfully selling its sustainable Welsh and international ethically sourced products having secured more than £20,000 in grants from a series of contests organised by AberInnovation, including the BioAccelerator programme and Productivity to Prosperity.

Owners Emily Knipe and Amy Aed are now using the investment to push ahead and trial three new canned drinks that will appeal to the ‘conscious consumer’ and meet demand for a sustainable alternative in the iced tea market.

Meanwhile, Aberystwyth University PhD student Jamila La Malfa Donaldson is celebrating grant support for her start-up PROHEMPOTIC having secured over £10,000 via the University’s InvEnterPrize competition, as well as use of office premises at AberInnovation, £1500 access to freelancers with Revolance, and a £500 Growth in Rural Resilience and Innovation Network prize.

Jamila is now using the Trading Space to garner feedback and access mentoring as she continues to research industrial hemp for its accumulation of therapeutic compounds while creating new product lines, including a novel hemp seed drink.

“I’m at the very early stages with the business so to achieve this grant funding and have the support of Antur Cymru will enable me to make take my vision forward over the coming months,” said Jamila.

“I will use the Trading Space as a platform to obtain consumer research and look at my marketing messaging, then I can eventually test the products and start trading.

“This will all be great experience for me, so I’m looking forward to seeing how things progress and am thankful for the support I’ve received so far.”

Emily reinforced those comments and said the Trading Space is an example of the town’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 enable us to make strides with EISA Tea Co and through Trading Space we have been able to test out and sell our ethical range of products.

“Being able to interact with customers and get their reaction in person has been invaluable and opened us up to other opportunities and a new audience, as well as having advice and guidance to hand on-site, which has been very beneficial.”

Trading Space Project Manager Julie Morgan congratulated both ventures on their funding success and says their approach and vision is exactly the reason they launched the project.

“These businesses are beacons of best practice and perfect examples of how this initiative can provide starts-up with a safety net as they test their ideas and lay foundations for future commercial success,” said Julie.

“Through their competitions wins they’ve shown what fantastic, environmentally-driven concepts they have and I’m just so glad we are able to help them on their journey – best of luck to you all.”

Visit Ethical Tea | EISA Tea Co. | Welsh Tea | Matcha UK and follow @EisaTeaCo on social media. Alternatively, email [email protected]

Visit PROHEMPOTIC online and follow @prohemoptic on social media. Connect with Jamila on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with her research.

For more information on the Trading Space project, visit the website www.anturcymru.org.uk/entrepreneurship/new-skills-new-start or email [email protected].