Young eco entrepreneurs at S’wheat create jobs, expand range & headline at business event

Jake Elliot-Hook and Amee Ritchie

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ENTREPRENEURS Amee Ritchie and Jake Elliot-Hook, founders of S’wheat, the world’s first reusable water bottle made from plants, who have recently expanded their product range, created three jobs and plant a tree for every bottle sold and give a % of profits to eco charities, announced as speakers at a business networking event in Edinburgh.

The Love Your Business event at Black Ivy in Bruntsfield on Thursday 25th August was founded in 2018 by Michelle Brown of the eponymous PR agency to help businesses share contacts, referrals and build their network, and also raise money for various charity partners, which include Make 2nds Count, Support in Mind Scotland, Invisible Cities and currently, Epilepsy Scotland. 

It has attracted over 150 speakers from around the world, sharing inspiring stories and valuable business tips, including Californian-based eco-entrepreneur Paul Tasner, founder of PulpWorks, Chris van der Kuyl CBE, Chairman and Co-Founder of 4J Studios, developers of the multi-award-winning Minecraft Console editions, former co-founder of Social Bite and business coach, Alice Thompson and Larah Bross, founder of Bross Bagels.

Amee and Jake will be the first ‘in person’ speakers at the event which returns to Black Ivy this month after two years online, due to the pandemic, and will be telling the story of their entrepreneurial journey which began four years ago when they were studying, after seeing the amount of single-use plastic bottles that were being discarded by students.

They carried out extensive research into the industry and discovered key issues which put people off using reusable bottles, including being too heavy, difficult to clean and easily broken. With no funds, except their student loans, or knowledge on how to run a company, they embarked upon a mission to develop a reusable bottle that was practically designed using sustainably sourced wheat straw and plant-based materials – that would also give back to the planet.

The company got off to a flying start following a pre-sale crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising £10k, that reached £22k worth of sales within 30 days, and an appearance on a Channel 4 TV show, which resulted in thousands of orders from around the world.

S’wheat, who have continued to adapt and expand their products over the years, have just launched a new black bottle and are unveiling a range of lunchboxes in September.

They have also expanded into co-branding corporate partnerships with clients including University of St Andrews, Edinburgh College, construction company Morgan Sindall and DIRTEA, resulting in the creation of three jobs to help grow the business further.

Their core mission remains the same today as it did when they started, which is to reduce the amount of plastic in our oceans, which is why they plant a trackable native tree with Ecologi for every bottle sold to give back to the earth and offset carbon emissions.

Michelle said: “We are delighted to be back at Black Ivy this month for our first face-to-face networking event since the start of the pandemic, especially with Amee and Jake from S’wheat as our speakers.”

“It will be great to hear about their entrepreneurial journey which started as students with no money or business experience to adapting and expanding their successful business and creating jobs within four years, with two of those during lockdowns, all whilst trying to reduce the amount of plastic in our oceans, which is hugely commendable and inspiring.”   

Amee said: “We are so excited to be a part of Love Your Business at Black Ivy this month so we can share S’wheat’s journey. It has been so rewarding to watch our business grow over the last four years and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.”

Tickets, https://bit.ly/3oCK4W2, are £20 plus booking fee with 50% of all sales going to the Love Your Business 2022 Charity Partner, Epilepsy Scotland.

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