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Get Wonky is January's Featured Business of the Month

Tue, 02 January 2018

Karina Sudenyte won a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award in January 2017 for her business, Get Wonky.
Between 5% and 25% of a fruit or vegetable crop might not get through the supply chain to retail customers often due to their shape, size, colour or other feature being wonky. This produce would normally be discarded, contributing to the high level of food waste and land inefficiency in the produce sector. 1
 
The Get Wonky team are helping to create a smarter future by challenging these problems. Get Wonky create cold-press natural fruit juices from wonky or misshapen fruits that don’t conform to high supermarket standards.They are reducing food waste, utilising recyclable packaging, and raising awareness of what they do and why they’re doing it. They achieve all this while also supporting the farmers growing the produce by buying the wonky fruit at a fair price. 
 
With a recent Great British Entrepreneur Award to add to the trophy cabinet, the team at Wonky Drinks are looking forward to the future.
 
Shell LiveWIRE sat down with Karina to catch up with her and to see what's next for her award-winning business, Get Wonky.
 
What was the inspiration behind Get Wonky drinks? How did you get into entrepreneurship? Did you always want to go into business for yourself?
Since a young age, my ultimate dream was to run my own business. Believe it or not, I already possessed entrepreneurial skills and qualities at the age of seven. Those skills started from small, but extremely inspirational stories, such as selling cans of fizzy drinks in school, designing jewellery boxes and trying to sell them to my family and also selling my own hand-crafted paintings. I have always believed that running your own business is empowering; working for yourself and your own goals is the ultimate dream.
 
What challenges did you face when setting up your business?
Starting your own business isn’t easy, however, from the first day I believed in my idea and more importantly, I believed in myself. No one can believe in yourself as much as you do, this is the inspirational mantra that always stands by me. One of the most important skills that every entrepreneur must possess is confidence, as it is important to not doubt yourself. If we face our fear, we simply gain strength and courage, therefore I had to overcome all these steps in order to become as confident as I am now.
 
What is your biggest (or proudest) achievement with the business?
My proudest moment in our short history is when I was told that the daughter of one of the growers we work with was able to go to college as a result of the extra income. In the past, the grower had been forced to discard all his wonky fruit, but when we came and bought it from him, he made some extra money which helped his daughter pursue higher education.
 
You won a Shell LiveWIRE Award in January 2017, how have things changed for you since then?
Since winning a Shell LiveWIRE Award, we have been successful in spreading awareness about food waste and growing our company. As more and more people want to help prevent food waste, they have turned to us for a solution. As a result, we have been able to grow our influence on the British market by entering new markets and teaming up with new partners. The Get Wonky team has also grown and we are excited to say that we are having an impact on food waste every day we come to work.
 
What’s next for Get Wonky?
We want to keep spreading the word about wonky fruit and save as much fruit as we possibly can. We are continuously finding new partners to help us combat food waste and finding new solutions to do so. We are proud to say that we are on track to having saved 300 tonnes of wonky produce by May 2018.
 
Entrepreneurs drive innovation. How do you think this can be used to help create a smarter future?
For me, our way to drive innovation is to enhance efficiency and eliminate waste. If we can change consumers’ attitudes to wonky fruit, we can help growers eliminate waste, which in turn means that there will be less waste of fertilisers and other materials in the supply chain. If we use all the fruit that is grown, we can also decrease transport for fruit that would have been thrown away, which in turn helps lower producers’ carbon footprint.
 
What role do you think entrepreneurs will play in the transition to a low carbon society?
I think entrepreneurs will have a huge impact on the transition. Entrepreneurs come forward with new bright ideas and they have the energy and the tools to actually make a difference. While large companies are careful to change since they do not want to take unnecessary risks, entrepreneurs can go out into the world and prove that there is room for improvement and chance.
 
What advice would you give to aspiring young entrepreneurs?
If we create the highest vision for the future in our mind, we should follow it – we should all dream big, believe big, think big and the outcome will be incredible.
 
Got a Smart Idea for a Business? 
Do you have a smart business idea that will provide a solution to the world’s future transport, food, energy, or natural resource challenges, or make our urban environments cleaner and more sustainable places to work and live in? If so you can apply online now for funding!

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