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Man with a Toothbrush

Tue, 14 April 2015

Contributed by Shell LiveWIRE Winner and BananaBerry founder, Dan Roberts)
There is no point in 'the small' competing against each other whilst 'the big' look down and laugh, many of whom are meanwhile moping along in their sluggish manner doing the same thing that they were 10 years ago. 
At the same time however, us small folk must not complain about it either. Instead, we of mighty creativity, drive, vision, anticipation and willingness to move forwards must join forces to show the world what is next. To solve an issue instead of add to a problem. To create awareness instead of drama. To encourage the freedom of ideas and the involvement of the passionate instead of just simply adding another brick to the wall. The potential within us all is palatable but that's for another time. I'm here to talk about collaboration. Sort of. 
We at BananaBerry set up from the start to do good. To show the world, ok I'm getting ahead of myself... to show the UK food industry that... wait, still too much... to show our community and anyone else who would listen that you don't need to be big to implement a worthwhile ethos and follow it through with integrity. The problem is, as nice as this sounds, it doesn't end up having much influence on the issue at hand; namely UK food waste. Thankfully it only takes a second to look around to see that the large inner circle of your industry is full of the go-getters, hard-headers, forward-drivers, cheese-graters and product-innovators that it needs to feed the upcoming present. 
But you must start somewhere, so picture this: there are two floor cleaners at Euston station. One is eager, pro active, willing to learn and motivated by the job he loves doing, yet he cleans with a toothbrush. The other; lazy, bored and does the job with his eyes closed, carries out his rubbish removal duties with the Sit-On Cleaning Buggy 5000, man this thing's a beast. So who are we? We are the former. We can brush away, back and forth hundreds of times a minute, making each square inch shine. But surely the station would prefer all of the rubbish removed before the crowds appear, instead of one tile shining bright amongst the litter. Our job as the boundless start-up is to bring the best of both. 
This isn't to say don't clean when the toothbrush is all you have, and boy do we feel we do a nice job of cleaning our small tile, but perhaps more emphasis amongst start-ups should be placed on working with others so that this concentration of hard work will become mainstream. The possibilities go on for miles: Collaborate on a production process to minimise waste and build better products; collaborate on concepts by launching a competition to access new customers; collaborate on a social vision to project a cause to the ears of the world. Then maybe, just maybe, the lazy employee will be overthrown ahead of schedule. That way all the rubbish is removed and as the station is now full of passionate employees, we may be able to make every tile shine bright too.

About Dan Roberts (Founder of BananaBerry)

Dan Roberts won a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award for his business, BananaBerry, a social enterprise that utilises surplus fruit and vegetables to create smoothies, fresh to order, for offices and events in London with 10p from every bottle sold going to Cancer Research UK. BananaBerry deliver their home-made smoothies via pedal power, thus helping to reduce their carbon footprint. BananaBerry are hoping to launch a new product in the near future, a sorbet made from the surplus pulp that is a by-product from their smoothies, thus creating more products from the surplus fruit and vegetables. 

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