MBA start-up goes from strength to strength thanks to eco focus – Cranfield University

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An environmentally-conscious coffee brand started by a Cranfield School of Management alumnus during the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown has grown into an award-winning business that has captured the attention of one of the investors from the BBC’s Dragons’ Den.
Following in the footsteps of the likes of Cobra Beer and other successful start-ups to emerge from Cranfield, Silly Goose Coffee has gone from strength to strength since its launch, thanks in part to its focus on sustainability, and on giving back to the community.
The business has supported numerous charities, including coffee growing communities in Africa via UK Coffee Week’s ‘Project Waterfall’, donated 100% of its profits for a month to NHS Charities Together, signed an international distribution deal, and secured investment from Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Touker Suleyman.
Silly Goose was highlighted in London on the Inside’s London Lockdown Food and Drink Awards 2021, which recognised businesses that kept the capital fed and watered during lockdown, and has been nominated in the upcoming Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards
Founder Patrick Swinburne set up the business during his MBA in 2020, after testing and refining his business plan with the help of resources on offer within Cranfield’s Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship. He said: “For a business that has only been trading for eight months, it couldn’t really go any better. We now have a solid base to launch from, which is amazing.”
The brand is already gaining traction internationally, with distribution deals in place in Africa, and more markets in the pipeline.
The success of Silly Goose is at least in part thanks to a clear sense of purpose and ethics. The business has partnered with environmental group Ecologi to ensure its entire operation is sustainable and the beans used to create its coffee blends are sourced from ethical coffee trading houses. Its coffee pods are 100% compostable and biodegradable, and the business offsets its carbon footprint.
“One of our founding principles has always been to be responsible members of the community,” Patrick explains. “We very much believe in doing anything we can to give something back. Even as a small start-up, it makes a difference.”
Silly Goose has already started expanding its product line, with a cold brew canned coffee ready to launch and plans to bring its unique combination of design, ethics, and personality to a line of homewares, superfood infused honey, and chocolate.

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