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12 June, 2017 - 01:19 By Tony Quested

Health food startup helps fight UK child hunger

NewJars health food

A social enterprise co-founded by an alumna of the university’s Cambridge Judge Business School is helping to fight UK child hunger with a range of multi-nut and seed butters.

Health food startup Jake’s Boost has raised crowdfunding cash to step into the breach at a time when the Tories plan to scrap free school lunches.

Judge alumna Ansje Germann and co-founder Dan Pearce raised £10k in 50 hours – a month ahead of the deadline. While the sum may seem modest the vision behind the enterprise is huge: Jake’s Boost dedicates five per cent of profits to UK child poverty charities, including Make Lunch. 

The fledgling business is already experiencing “huge interest” from abroad and has sold to customers in the US, Germany, France and Ireland. More export sales will drill down to additional donations.

Germann says: “We know the appetite is there and by working closely with our adviser at the Department of International Trade in Cambridge we can carefully choose the markets most promising for our products.”

Although the UK is the 30th richest country in the world, 3.5 million children are living in poverty and 1.7 million in severe deprivation.

The funds from the campaign will be used to grow the business and feed more children. The mission is to produce large test batches, develop more convenient and environmentally friendly packaging for the snack pots and invest in a marketing campaign. 

The founders want Jake’s Boost to become a multi-social enterprise that offers socially conscious consumers a range of lifestyle products that support individual ethical causes.

Germann said: “The nascent success of our crowdfunding campaign just goes to show that there is zeal for brands and products that aim to do good and make you feel good. 

“We’re only at the beginning of our journey but with this amazing support, we can build Jake’s Boost to feed more and more mouths in the UK. And with the state of schoolchildren’s meals hanging in the balance, this is the right moment to support brands and charities that are tackling this issue head on.”
            
Pearce and Germann established Jake’s Boost in late 2015; tired of single flavour nut butters and realising that most of the more “exciting” mixes contained additives, they began experimenting by mixing only nuts and seeds and created three blends.

The nuts and seeds in the mixes complement each other in terms of health benefits, nutritional profiles and flavour. Their blends are vegan and gluten free.

While the business is based in Ascot, Germann retains Cambridge connections. She is an alumna of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship programme.

The founders continue to attend mentoring sessions with the Accelerate Cambridge Programme at Judge and Germann is also an ambassador of the Postgraduate Diploma of Entrepreneurship course.

She told Business Weekly: “We graduated from the programme in autumn 2015 and went onto the Cambridge Social Ventures Programme in January 2016 and graduated from that at the end of the year.

“We still have strong ties with the ventures we met on both programmes and ran a bloggers event with a couple of them last month in Cambridge. Our Department of International Trade adviser is based in Cambridge as well. We travel to Cambridge regularly – at least once a month – for meetings or events.”

And the name Jake’s Boost? Germann says: “The Jake in the name comes from our black labrador Jake – he gets us out of the house and keeps us active come rain or shine, as well as keeping us aware of our impact on nature.
“The Boost comes from the unique combination of nuts and seeds and the boost of energy and nutrients they provide.”

Find out more at: jakesboost.com

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: co-founders Dan Pearce and Ansje Germann

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