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Trading for Good

What we're talking about...

'Solving problems' and 'doing good'. Why not?

I have loved learning about how companies begin, but getting the true picture isn't quite as simple as watching 'Jobs' or 'The Social Network'. Of course we know what they're all about today. They're the mountains of the city that have a voice loud enough to tell the world their story. They contribute a lot to the employment of our economies and often do great work with charities, whilst striving to minimise their environmental impact…today...but my question is how long did it take to get to this current stage, and was being this socially responsible always at the heart of their mission from the beginning?

With BananaBerry, the focus from the get go was twofold: 'solving problems' and ‘doing good’ using the tool of business. If we can provide something that people want and improve both the micro and macro communities in which we live at the same time, then surely we will be off to a good start. This is the BananaBerry mission, and has been from our incorporation on #24012014

So let's start with 'solving problems'. Problem one: as a country we demand far too much food from the global pot, leaving other areas of the world in dire need. This isn't breaking news, and using social enterprise to tackle this is nothing new either. Problem two is also widely known: useable food output needs to significantly increase in the coming decades to match the growing population. Now admittedly we are not solving the first problem. But we are ensuring a slice of such food waste in the UK doesn't become so, by creating a consumable product for workers in London, a target market which offers us an exciting prospect for growth given the network effects available around our capital city. Tying into our growth strategy is not the aim to get to "next biggest smoothie company" status, so innocent you can relax for now! Instead it is to become a major competitor in social food enterprises, working with others to bring down the impact that this social food waste problem creates. This can only be done with size, it's no good for the economy and for the problem at hand to have a bunch of social activists take on the issue alone, with minimal support and capital, relative to the competitors who perhaps place much less emphasis on the problem. It is not enough for a start up to be just sexy and agile, we must be wise and place growth at the heart of what we are working hard for, and for this we must work together.

And what about the 'doing good' bit? BananaBerry offers as many reasons as possible for clients to invest and buy into our brand and our business. One of these reasons is our will to work with charities. In the beginning we set up our contributions to go to Cancer Research UK. This charity still lies at the core of our operations but we also run a Charity Initiative in which individual clients can redirect their orders' contributions to a charity partner they already work with. This ensures buying BananaBerry Smoothies directly continues the organisations' charitable efforts. After all, part of what we do is to support the great work of large companies, not to fragment their CSR efforts.

There are lots of different directions that our company can grow into and boy do we have some exciting ideas of where we could take it. But whatever we decide to run with our goal is to stay focused on the core issue at hand, a hand that other enterprises should take to see where we can go.

BananaBerry is a social enterprise that utilises surplus fruit and veg (produce that would otherwise be wasted) to create home made smoothies, freshly made to order, for offices and events in London. 10p from every bottle shifted is donated to Cancer Research UK. Daniel also aims to promote BananaBerry’s charity initiative, by allowing clients to redirect their orders' contributions to the charity partners that they work with. This allows companies to continue their CSR efforts.

BananaBerry is carrying out a rewards based Crowdfunding Campaign in March of next year to make the summer of 2015 the summer of the Smoothie Life. So stay tuned. 

Daniel Roberts
About the Author

Daniel Roberts

Daniel graduated from Bristol University having been treasurer on the Social Enterprise Committee. After jobs in logistics, bookkeeping and modelling he looked to incorporate the principles of social enterprise into his own venture. Bringing together aspects of social business and the high network effects of London Offices, BananaBerry was born.

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