This week our blog is written by Jude Bliss, Head of Communications at Entocycle.
Our vision at Entocycle is to bring a halt to the destruction of the natural world, and in time, return intensive farmland back to the wild. We hope to one day be able to restore earth’s natural wildlife and the ecosystems that today are being destroyed due to food production and overfishing. Our solution is to create an entirely sustainable source of protein made from insects, which would replace current unsustainable protein sources such as soya and fishmeal.
We joined The Good Kitchen programme in March 2017. We were four people back then now we are fifteen so the team has grown quite rapidly. In that time we’ve built the world’s first fully automated insect rearing smart factory. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get there. We have two distinct teams here at Entocycle. An engineering team and the business team.
The engineering team have been single-minded in their focus on building our new smart factory. It is able to breed and farm insects in a completely controlled and automated environment. The business team has been focused on building relationships with food manufacturers and producers with a view to securing our first contracts, as well as outlining our plan for growth over the next five years.
Although we are a tech company and the majority of the team have an engineering background, it’s fundamental that we are able to tell our story well if we are to create the impact and change we want to. People are often not aware of the environmental problem we are setting out to fix, so whilst we explain our business we have to educate people as to the looming food crisis and the causes of that too. It’s important we are able to tell that story quickly and effectively. It’s a challenge but we are getting better at it.
A key lesson learnt would be to get an idea of the company’s values as early on as possible. We are a founder driven business and so in terms of our mission we have that built into the business and we are clear on that as our focus. In terms of the type of company and culture we want to be, it’s been more loosely defined. And while it’s understandable that dedicating time to discussing our values takes a back seat while we focus on growing the business, equally having a clearer sense of our values could have made some of the day to day decision making easier. My advice to other start-ups would be to dedicate time to that exercise early on when you’re a small team, you can always build on that as you grow.