Young entrepreneur Gavin Edley had the perfect blend for success when he outlined his ideas to a group of Rotherham business experts and mentors.
The 24-year-old former Brinsworth Comprehensive School pupil’s plans for expanding his Vitalife beverage business proved to be everybody’s cup of tea at a Dragons’ Den-style event, hosted by Rotherham Enterprise Board.
So much so that he not only won over the judges to carry off the top prize of £1,500, provided by sponsors, UK Steel Enterprise, but also won a secret audience vote on who had delivered the best business pitch.
Gavin set up Vitalife in 2010 with the help of the Rotherham Enterprise Project with the aim of introducing a healthy Japanese green tea called Matcha to the UK.
Now he wants to expand his business by diversifying the range of teas, introducing new products, and working with more retailers.
Gavin said: “This was the first time that I’d done anything like this and pitched my business in front of a panel and an audience. I’m really pleased to have won. I’m looking to launch new teas and a range of healthy snacks and drinks and I’m looking at the prospect of opening café premises to showcase them.
“I’m also looking to build the Vitalife brand and secure more deals with more retailers.
“I’m excited by the expansion plans and the prize money will certainly help me carry them out.”
Judges included Kirsty Henshaw, who won significant backing for her Worthenshaws Freedom Foods business from the BBC’s Dragons’ Den.
Other finalists were: social enterprise Drive It Home Road Safety; vintage craft workshops specialist The Button Tin and plumbing product developers Simply Inventive.
UK Steel Enterprise regional manager Keith Williams said: “The business pitches were some of the best we’ve seen. “I’m sure it was a great experience for the enterprises and has helped them identify new potential opportunities and given them the confidence to progress their ideas.