A couple of days ago I found myself heading for Silicon Roundabout, London’s answer to Silicon Valley, at the invitation of no less a person than Google!! The invitation was to visit Campus Feast but I must admit that I went because I thought I was going to get to see the famed Google headquarters complete with sleep pods and in house masseurs. As it happened, I got nowhere near a sleep pod as Campus Feast was housed in the equivalent of a small warehouse tacked on to Google’s building in Bonhill Street – but the Campus Feast fully made up for my disappointment.
I subsequently discovered that Google, in the person of Eze Vidra (seen here with Google boss Eric Schmidt) regularly hosts and promotes such events for any and all sorts of start up ventures which are IT focused or, at least IT savvy. They are open for just one day to an invited ‘audience’ of journalists and other interested parties to whom they get a chance to promote their wares from mini-pop-up stands and during two mini presentations when they have to say their all in a succinct one minute slot.
All of the stands were interesting, for the enthusiasm of their budding entrepreneurs if nothing else, but there were a handful which really caught my eye:
Mummy’s Cooking. This is a brilliant social enterprise scheme to provide skills and thereby decent paid work (not to mention a degree of independence) to unemployed women from ethnic backgrounds. Mummy’s Cooking train the ladies to use their cooking skills, honed by years of cooking their traditional foods for their families, commercially. But not only do they provide training but they help their ‘graduates’ to find employment either in commercial kitchens or by catering privately for supper clubs, events, packed lunches for your office or any other catering need you might have. Check out their site for more details.
FoodTrade. FoodTrade describes itself as a Linked In for the food trade – connecting growers, farmers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, market stalls, restaurants, cafés and consumers via an interactive website which includes maps showing how connected everyone could be. Thus two growers might find that they could share delivery costs to one outlet, a group of consumers could start a buying group and save themselves money, retail outlets could find they could collaborate on a local promotion – or a millions other ways in which connecting could offer opportunities to grow their business, cut costs or locate interesting products or outlets.
Farm Drop. Farm Drop also uses the internet to locate local farmers and producers who supply direct to the consumer by delivering their orders to one location (could be a local pub or caff, or a buyer prepared to ‘host’ a Farm drop) once or twice a week/fortnight so that the consumer/customer can collect it. 80% of the price goes direct to the farmers/producers, the food is picked, caught and made to order, there is no waste and fewer food miles.
Victorious Baking. Victorious Baking is somewhat more on home territory for us. A range of genuinely delicious (I tried some) gluten, wheat, dairy, soy and nut free little ‘treats’ made from organic ingredients, ‘happy hens’ eggs, local (where possible) ingredients, all in a nut-free kitchen – and most have only have 25 calories!!!!
Grow Up. Grow Up is an urban faming concept which aims to turn a car park in central London into a sustainable urban farm using a specially modified shipping container and vertical aquaponics! I shall not attempt to explain – just take a quick look at their video on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter.
Poncho8. Poncho8, who make fresh Mexican food to take away, won my support as they were keen to increase their offering of gluten-free boxes. If you are in London and like Mexican food, check out their site.
Zendegii. ‘Zendegii’s goal is to help people become healthier without having to change their lifestyle by creating irresistible drinks, foods, and beauty products that are truly healthy.’ The samples that they had on offer were actually delicious and did look extraordinarily healthy! Check out their site for more on why they exist and the immense effort they are putting into designing their very excellent healthy foods….
One Minute London For a very reasonable cost (around £100 if I remember rightly) they make a 1 minute interactive video of your restaurant/café/pub/eatery which allows the viewer not only to check out what you are offering but to book. It appears on the One Minute London site (with lots search options) but is also freely available on line, through social media networks and guides.
For more on the Campus concept see www.campuslondon.com