At Pearson College London, we champion entrepreneurship by encouraging our students to not only start their own businesses, but also by having in-house start-ups to aid the students. We sat down with Connor, Co-Founder of Green&Grow, our business incubator at Pearson College London.
What is Green&Grow?
I have always been interested in climate change and products that are going to solve these problems, not just something that will make lots of money. I wanted to have a positive impact on the world through my products.
What are the aims of the business?
Our mission is to help regenerate the earth using consumerism. Our plan is to create amazing products that solve problems and create value in your lives whilst actively improving the world around you. For example when you buy our Green&Grow Biochar not only are you growing bigger healthier plants whilst reducing watering and feeding by 50% your also helping to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. When you buy a 10kg bag of Green&Grow Biochar you are preventing the equivalent CO2 emissions from 171 miles of driving from entering the atmosphere!
Green&Grow is our first brand that we are commercialising that at the moment. This product is a form of charcoal that you can put into your potting mix to increase plant growth whilst reducing watering and fertilising.
Green&Grow Biochar is made up of carbon that used to be in the sky. A tree absorbs the carbon from the air until someone cuts it down for furniture or paper etc, creating a lot of wood waste. We take this unwanted wood and run it through a process to convert it to pure carbon which does not biodegrade. This makes our Green&Grow Biochar carbon NEGATIVE as it is unable to break down and enter the atmosphere again. Our value proposition is that gardeners can add it to their potting mix, grow bigger healthier plants with 50% inputs you and overtime reduce their carbon footprint to zero.
Something we are doing now with the local councils is planting 4,000 plants in the local park where 4,000,000 people are going to see them over the summer. We are using the equivalent amount of carbon as the CO2 emissions from 7,500 miles of driving, the distance from London to Indonesia. This is just in one park in one council.
We are commercialising this at the moment as our first product. The carbon negative potting mix will be sold in bags for people to put on their compost and plants. It reduces the bad smells associated with compost, as well as speeding up the composting process; at the end you are left with a mix of soil and charcoal which we call biochar and it can be put onto the plants for accelerated growth.
How long has the business been running for?
I graduated a Product Design degree in the summer of 2018 and we founded it in August 2018.
Why did you choose to apply for the incubation space at Pearson College London?
After graduating, I was looking for some support so I applied for an accelerator programme called Central Research Laboratory. This consisted of giving away 3% equity of your company in exchange for £5,000 cash grant, one to one mentoring with designers and CEOs, a free trip to China and general support lasting 6 months. At the end of the programme we were looking for another place where we can get mentoring and support and one of our mentors Arnold, a staff member at Pearson College London, recommended that I apply for the business incubation programme. So, we pitched the idea to the Pearson’s students and here we are!
How do you think that being within Pearson College London can help your business to grow?
Firstly, the office space in a fantastic location in Central London and is saving us thousands of pounds in rent.
Secondly, Pearson’s are providing us with 4 paid interns from the Business, Law and Marketing courses which we can leverage to accelerate our growth. Business, Law and Marketing students are perfect for what Agile Planet needs right now as for example, we are currently setting up supplier contracts and we need legal agreements with them. Also the law students will be able to help us with our Intellectual Property. We are also about to launch our website and need a marketing campaign to go alongside that so we are really looking forward to working with the students.
How do you think you can help the students at Pearson College London?
The students here are learning about entrepreneurship and some are starting to set up and come up with ideas for new businesses. We are a real business that it setting up in the current market right now so we are a great real life case study for the students to learn from. Therefore, I think that we can really help them to learn what it’s really like to run a business. One of my personal goals is to give back and help the next generation of innovators so this is going to be extremely rewarding for me.
What does the future look like in your eyes for Green&Grow?
When we have got Green&Grow up and running we will be able to focus on commercialising our other ventures. We are constantly coming up with new ideas that solve problems create value in people's lives.
We keep coming up with new ideas that have absolutely nothing to do with gardening so the plan is to keep launching new ideas into companies until I’m old and have no more!