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What made bio bean apply for the Green Challenge?

Our founder, Arthur Kay, saw a great opportunity with Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge to gain attention for his idea along with funding and business advice for scaling up.

Arthur had started bio-bean in 2013, after he’d been struck by the volume of coffee grounds going to waste and found research supporting his theory that the used grounds contain oil and could therefore be used as a fuel source.

Arthur was an architecture student, and while working on designing a coffee shop with a closed-loop system he noticed the film of oil collecting on his cold americano and began to wonder. He went on to develop coffee-derived biomass pellets and from there, bio-bean was born.

The company grew rapidly from there, but to develop to a commercial scale we needed funding for staff and to build our factory.

Arthur had been told to enter the competition by a friend of a friend of a friend. He’d already applied to the Challenge in 2013, but hadn’t made it to the top five. He was persistent and tried again in 2014, this time winning the award.

What was the awards ceremony like?

The awards ceremony was an inspiring event and the build-up was intense. We got the opportunity to meet some of the judges, fellow entrepreneurs and audience members and took full advantage of the networking aspect, gaining contacts for life.

What has been the effect of winning the Green Challenge on bio-bean?

Being a winner of the Green Challenge was game changing. The prize money helped us complete some critical hires of experts to our team and enabled us to build our first factory. The support, mentoring and raising of our profile helped as well.

Why should others apply for the Green Challenge?

The Green Challenge is an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs and new start-ups to gain funding and to raise their profile. The media attention is extremely helpful in garnering interest from other investors and advisors. Not to mention that the process of applying for the Challenge helps to refine your idea and business plan. 

What advice would you give applicants?

The best advice we can give is to keep things simple. Try to clearly and succinctly communicate your idea. You’re probably too close to it, so try and think from the perspective of the judges and don’t throw in too many tangential benefits.

Register for the webinar on 25 March to find out more about the application process and ask any questions.