SuperHoney by SuperJam

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SuperHoney by SuperJam

Edinburgh, United KingdomEdinburgh, United Kingdom
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

At the age of 14, Fraser Doherty was taught to make jam by his Grandmother and started selling homemade jam at farmers' markets in Scotland. He since came up with a way of making jam 100% from fruit and now, at 23, supplies over 2,000 supermarkets in 7 countries, has sold many millions of jars and been entered into the National Museum of Scotland as an ‘Iconic Scottish Brand’.

The company invests profits in running hundreds of free SuperJam Tea Parties around the world for elderly people who live alone or in care homes; the biggest events attract 500+ people for dancing, tea and, of course, scones & jam.

SuperHoney is a new product - the company will put beehives into schools, to teach kids about bees, the environment and food; providing much-needed homes for millions of British bees. SuperHoney will then be filtered, packed and sold through our existing relationships with major supermarkets, raising money for schools and community groups along the way.

The community beekeeping groups will be run by local beekeepers – many of whom are retired – giving kids a chance to interact with older people and learn from positive role models; hopefully inspiring a life-long interest in the environment.

We have taken advice that putting bees in school is safe and legal as is the processing and sale of amateur-produced honey. Bees are dying at an alarming rate and by establishing more urban community beehives; we can tackle the problem. Sales of honey are booming and the market price is the highest it has ever been.

We have the support of major UK supermarkets (to retail SuperHoney) and will potentially be making a TV series about “Jam Boy’s Adventures in Honey”.

The prize money would be invested in setting up 50 community beekeeping projects across the UK. Ben & Jerry are Fraser’s heroes and he’s incredibly excited and grateful to be a part of this competition.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Bee colony collapse disorder is one of the most serious environmental problems of our time. Without bees, we will struggle to produce most of the food that we rely on. In some areas, almost 50% of hives are dying year-on-year. Pesticides (the lobbying for and poor regulation of), radiation and excessive transportation of hives (most hives travel hundreds of miles a year to pollinate crops) are to blame. Inner city kids in the UK rarely visit the countryside, especially given the current austerity. Kid's don't get the opportunity to learn about where food comes from, the environment and horticulture in a hands-on way. This is tragic. By giving kids a hands-on, exciting experience, I hope to kick start a lifelong interest in food and the environment.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We will provide schools, youth clubs, scout groups and community gardens in inner city locations with a beehive and basic beekeeping equipment for free. Local beekeeping clubs (passionate, often retired, beekeeping enthusiasts who LOVE to tell people about the joy and importance of keeping bees) will help local youngsters to set up the hives and look after them. They'll also give talks in the schools and the kids will be encouraged to do school work on the project. The groups will harvest the honey and sell it via a registered, transparent charity to SuperJam. The funds they raise can be used to buy more hives, causing the project to grow every year. SuperJam will then sell the honey through its relationships with 2,000 retail stores, as well as online and as part of special features on QVC - where the communities supported can also be featured on TV.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Some well-funded schools have invested in their own beekeeping projects, with great success and an overwhelmingly positive response from parents and pupils. There is no national free beekeeping initiative - so poorer schools and community groups miss out, when they would benefit the most. The great thing is that the market is endless - there is an almost limitless number of places that bees can be kept (urban beekeeping is particularly successful, because of the high density of flowers and the low levels of pesticide, compared to the monoculture of the countryside). There is also a worldwide shortage of honey (bee populations are falling, along with honey production) in the face of increased consumer demand for honey. The market price of honey is extremely high.
About You
Organization:
SuperJam
Background Information
First Name

Fraser

Last Name

Doherty

The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you

Yes.

Country of residence of entrepreneur

Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?

When I was a kid, my Gran made the best jam. She would make a few jars and take them to local old folks' homes in Glasgow, along with some scones. She'd take my younger brother and I with her and we'd play our musical instruments for the elderly people.

After she taught me how to make jam (when I was 14), I started selling it door to door to the neighbours, then at farmers' markets and to small shops. Over the past eight years, SuperJam has moved production into a factory and now supplies 1m jars of jam a year to over 2,000 stores around the world.

Ben & Jerry have always been my business idols and I even included them in my book, SuperBusiness, which is all about my story and what i've learned from starting a socially-minded company.

For me, success is being able to invest some of our profits into social projects. We run hundreds of free afternoon tea parties in care homes across the UK for elderly people - some of the parties have attracted over 600 guests at a time! The SuperJam Tea Parties are a registered charity.

I'm passionate about the idea of building a commercially successful business that can run social and environmental projects in the community.

My big idea is to launch 'SuperHoney'; providing free beehives to inner city schools, inviting local beekeepers to mentor kids in a community beekeeping project. SuperJam will buy the honey from the community groups (who can use the proceeds to buy more hives) and sell it through its existing Supermarket, online, QVC and independent retail distribution network.

I love the idea because, commercially:

SuperHoney can be sold through the 2,000-strong retail network that SuperJam already supplies, at a price premium to regular honey brands. The honey market is £125m+, 50% larger than the jam market.

Socially:

Giving inner city kids the opportunity to learn about bees, insects, honey, agriculture, the environment and meet local beekeepers, many of whom will be retired and really passionate about bees.

Longer term, I would also love to provide beekeeping opportunities in Africa; creating a secondary income for families and schools.

Environmentally:

Bee populations are in tragic decline and are required to pollinate plants, which in turn makes our food systems naturally more productive and our cities greener.

About Your Organization
Organization Name

SuperJam

Organization Country

, EDH, Edinburgh

Country where this project is creating social impact

, EDH, Edinburgh

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Innovation
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities

With 10,000 Euros of funding, we would be able to set up around 50 community beekeeping projects in our first year of operating SuperHoney. We would do this by encouraging schools, community gardens, scout groups and others to apply and we will select the projects that we think are most likely to be well supported in their community but also where there is the best opportunity to benefit the children taking part. The actual hive and equipment will remain our property, so in the event that the community can't support the project any more, we can give it to a group that can.

Working with the British Beekeepers Association, who I have met with, we will put the local young people in touch with their local beekeeping society (there are about 100 across the UK). The beekeepers will visit the school, give a talk about the project and beekeeping in general and the kids who are interested can volunteer to come along to a monthly beekeeping club. They will learn all about beekeeping and also get hands on experience of assembling the hive, looking inside the hive, harvesting the honey and also making by-products with the beeswax.

The British Beekeeping Association provides written and practical exams and a beekeeping qualification. Keeping bees is legal and safe in almost any outdoor location - even on roofs!

After harvesting the honey, the group will send it to SuperJam (using approved equipment, packaging and courier), where it will be processed in our facility. The factory that produces our jam is also the 2nd biggest honey packer in the UK, so will be able to filter, blend and pack the honey to supermarket standards. Honey is very low risk (it is the only food that never goes off). The average UK hive produces 13kg of honey per year, for which the groups would receive £65 (more than they would make if they packaged and sold it themselves) - they will be able to buy a second hive or more equipment! Weather permitting, the project will be able to double in size every year. Four or five hives can happily live in one schoolyard.

The school/scout group/community garden will also be able to buy back the filtered, packaged honey to sell at school fetes and community events. This creates an opportunity to teach kids about enterprise and could be a welcome income stream to fund other extra-curricular activities or to fund equipment for the Scout group, for example.

SuperHoney will have a year-round listing in the supermarkets and although it will take some time for the community hives to generate enough honey (we will be investing some of our profits in new community beekeeping projects every year), we predict that ultimately we could capture 2.5% of the UK jam market - which would be around £3m in sales, or 1m jars of honey (£2.99 each, 225g).

Select the stage that best applies to your business

Operating for 1-5 years

Social Impact
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?

SuperJam has invested in several hundred Tea Parties, via our registered charity; in UK, Aus and Finland. Our largest events have attracted 600+ guests; from care homes, hospitals, sheltered housing or who live alone. The oldest guest so far was 102 years old and we've had countless kind letters saying how much the parties mean to the guests. One elderly gentleman, who hadn't socialized much since his wife died 5 years prior, told me that it made him "feel like a person again".

Parties are free and we provide tea, coffee, cakes and scones (with SuperJam, of course!). Most of the events feature live music and other forms of entertainment. We involve local school kids to create an intergenerational aspect to the project.

We measure: no of parties, no of guests and cost per head.

What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?

SuperJam is growing at a successful rate, with sales up around 54% in 2011. With the launch of SuperHoney, challenges will include:

1) Not producing enough honey. We will start out selling the products on QVC, high end stores and wherever we can gain maximum exposure (to help the project grow) and the highest prices (to fund more community beehives, to grow capacity). At least initially, we will blend the honey from the community groups with high quality commercial honey, to increase the volume; meaning we can sell more jars at a higher profit, so we can invest in more of our own hives. The jars would be labelled as such.

Sustainability
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?

Financial

SuperHoney will buy honey from community groups and also support them in marketing SuperHoney (after we have centrally processed and packaged the raw honey) to raise funds for their project. Each group could raise around £500 a year towards new equipment and hives.

We will market the honey through our network of 2,000 retail stores, online and on QVC. Selling 100,000 jars would generate £42,000 in profit. We'll invest profits in setting up new community beekeeping groups and marketing SuperHoney, to keep the whole thing growing.

Social

We aim to start 50 community bee groups each year, giving 5,000+ kids a hands on experience. Each group would involve local (probably retired) beekeepers to run the club and also give a talk to the whole school - potentially getting our message about food, sustainability and the environment to 250 schools, reaching as many as 70,000 children.

Environmental

Colony collapse is one of the major environmental issues of our time! In some places, almost half of the colonies collapse year-on-year. In 5 years, we hope to be supporting 1,000+ hives, giving homes to 50m+ bees! Bees pollinate plants and are vital to our ecosystem.

Our project will also be educating thousands of young people about the role of bees in the world. Along the way, this hands on experience will encourage a passion in the environment, sustainability, food and maybe even plants!

Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?

For me, starting my own business has changed my life! Not only has it created a career for me, but i've been able to create work for other people and even do good in my community through our social projects. I can only begin to imagine how much impact starting a business like this could have had in a developing country.

I think enterprise is the only force that can free people in developing countries from repressive regimes and the unfairness of the market. By moving further up the supply chain (by creating products, not just produce) and creating brands, innovations and new markets for their products, they can create wealth for themselves, their communities and their countries tax coffers.

Unlike the work of NGOs, if a social enterprise can get off the ground in a local community, it can hopefully be self-sustaining and not need to rely on funding from outside.

What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?

I would LOVE to visit Uganda and learn from the people there and spend time with the other entrepreneurs, who will no doubt be inspirational!

I'm fascinated in learning more about Ben & Jerry's sourcing, having read some incredible stories from Ben & Jerry's Double-Dip. It would be great to find inspiration for how SuperJam can source ingredients responsibly and maybe even come up with ideas for future social projects that might involve entrepreneurs in developing countries!

I've never been to Africa but i've seen poverty in slums in India and in the countryside in the Philippines and it is never easy to deal with; being face to face with the injustice of the world economy, especially seeing sick kids and hearing people's stories. I'll be really inspired by seeing how the vanilla project is helping to improve the lives of the people there and hopefully creating a model for doing the same thing in other places.