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OOZE Drinks is May's Featured Business of the Month

Thu, 24 May 2018

Giuseppe Baidoo won a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award in July 2017 for his business, OOZE Drinks.
OOZE Drinks is a sustainable company on a mission to reduce food waste one sip at a time. Each year 90,000 tonnes of fresh produce never makes it onto our plates and goes to waste.1 For some produce sectors such as apples, supply chain losses can be as high as 25%.2
 
Giuseppe Baidoo’s passion for sustainability inspired him to team up with his college classmates and form OOZE Drinks with the aim of reducing food waste at source and encouraging sustainable consumption.
 
OOZE Drinks work with small British farmers helping them to be more sustainable economically and environmentally by rescuing their surplus produce, transforming it into delicious healthy smoothies in recycled packaging.
 
After focusing on production facilities and increasing the drinks’ shelf-life, OOZE Drinks is finally ready to break into the juice market. We sat down with Giuseppe to catch up with him and see what’s next for his award-winning business, OOZE Drinks.
 
What was the inspiration behind OOZE Drinks?
The inspiration behind OOZE Drinks was born out of the desire to do something about food waste and our environment. I wanted to create a product which would change people’s perception towards wonky fruits. Aesthetically, wonky fruit are naturally ‘’ugly’’ in shape but what really matters is on the inside; this is where the name ‘’OOZE’’ comes from. We are oozing the goodness out of misshapen fruits.  
 
How did you get into entrepreneurship? Did you always want to go into business for yourself?
I am an ambitious individual with an adventurous personality, often in search of new opportunities and experiences to discover, learn, accrue knowledge and grow personally. Being curious and having an urge to learn has motivated me since a young age to get involved in different community-focused projects whereby I contributed in helping people in disadvantaged situations. This is where I was inspired and my obsession for sustainability grew to help me become a social entrepreneur, setting up my own business to fight food waste and aiming for social change.
 
What challenges did you face when setting up your business?
Starting a new business from scratch is challenging especially if you are starting something which is completely new for you, it’s easy to get lost and lose hope. As an entrepreneur I always believed in my idea this helped me to be confident and overcome adversities by learning from my mistakes as they are inevitably part of the entrepreneurial success story.
 
What is your biggest (or proudest) achievement with the business?
My proudest achievement so far was seeing produce we have rescued being redistributed by our charity partner to combat food waste in our communities. It gives a sense of accomplishment being able to prevent food waste and redirect edible produce towards achieving a positive social impact. 
 
You won a Shell LiveWIRE Award in 2017, how have things changed for you since then? What’s next for OOZE Drinks?
The Shell LiveWIRE Award gave us a massive boost to grow our business, as a result we have been able to improve our facilities, develop our sustainable drinks and are currently launching into the drinks market. Our next step is to keep on growing as a business and build a bigger network of farmers to rescue more surplus produce and influence consumers towards a better food system.
 
What role do you think entrepreneurs will play in the transition to a low-carbon society?
I believe entrepreneurship will play a big role in creating a low-carbon economy. We are in an era where there is demand for innovation and change; entrepreneurs are creative and are full of bright ideas, and they have the drive and desire to make things happen. I believe they will help shape our society toward a more sustainable economy.
 
What’s your approach to risk as an entrepreneur?
Taking risk is scary but at the same time as an entrepreneur I am bold enough to take them. I believe risk is part of the journey towards achieving my personal goals and growing as an entrepreneur. Not every risk taken will pay off, but I have learned to embrace it, learned from the experience and moved on. As entrepreneurs we will always be surrounded by risk and uncertainty, being confident and believing in your decision making is key.

What’s the most important personality trait to have as an entrepreneur and why?
I think every entrepreneur need to have elements of creativity in them. Creativity plays a big role when it comes to exploring new ideas and making things happen. Even in times of difficulties when things are not working according to plans, being creative and open to explore different options helps hugely.
 
If you could return to this time last year would you do anything differently?
Yes, I have learned so much in my journey as an entrepreneur if I was giving the opportunity to return this time last year, I would definitely implement what I have learned from my mistakes and make decisions which would positively impact my business and help us move forward faster.
 
What advice would you give to aspiring young entrepreneurs?
Just do it! Whatever your dream is, go ahead and start it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, use every tool you have to start something. Once an idea is turned into reality everything else happens.
 
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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