Mentors

As well as an opportunity to raise much needed funding, Tesco BackIt also gives small businesses the opportunity to gain insights from industry experts. We have some amazing mentors lined up to support them along the way and you can find out more about them below.

All About Food

“We’re fortunate to work with great people, brands, customers and suppliers. Being eager to listen, learn and try new things, we hope to help exciting new start-ups by sharing some of our experiences and insight.

At All About Food we make restaurant brands successful in retail. We started out in 1999 and from humble beginnings have grown every year since with sales of £24m last year. We work with some of the most loved restaurants (Nando’s, PizzaExpress, Wahaca, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Red’s True BBQ) to help consumers prepare meals from their favourite brands at home. Our team of empowered, high-performing Foodies are passionate about creating products and ideas that benefit our brands, customers and consumers."

Why did you decide to mentor through Tesco BackIt?

Tesco BackIt is a great initiative to give food start-ups access to mentoring and expertise from people that are a little further along their journey. I'm hoping we can save time and effort for the entrepreneurs by sharing some experience and also learn from them too. I'll also encourage our team of Foodies to help where we can. I'm sure we'll have some fun along the way.

What was your business breakthrough moment?

My business breakthrough moment was recruiting a team of bright and hungry graduates into All About Food and working with them to shape them into a high performing team. We’ve used the same template for success in the last 5 years and have grown our team to 31 people.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The best piece of advice I’ve been given is from an old friend – the 3 D's - do Different things, do things Differently and do Difficult things.

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St Austell

“We’re delighted to be a part of Tesco BackIt because we’ve learnt so much from our own transition through the Tesco business that it only seems fair to share that and help others.

St Austell Brewery is a family business going back well over 100 years. We are rooted in Cornwall though our pubs, hotels and brands and our focus on giving only the very best in quality and service has led to consumers seeking us out further afield. Tesco encouraged us on that journey so that our brands Tribute, Proper Job and more lately our Korev lager are fast becoming household names nationwide."

Why did you decide to mentor through Tesco BackIt?

Tesco BackIt offers a well structured process to assist and mentor start up brands through the Tesco business. We are proud and excited to be a part of that.

What was your business breakthrough moment?

Our business breakthrough moment came over 10 years ago with the success of our Tribute brand when its local popularity and growing national presence was recognised by Tesco who took it to a wider audience

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The best piece of advice I’ve ever heard is to listen more than you talk!

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Brewdog

"Tesco BackIt will allow startup businesses access to both the UK’s largest retailer and their suppliers from similar positions who can share their experience, offer support and advice.

Martin & James were bored of the industrially brewed Lagers and stuffy ales that dominated the UK beer market. They decided the best way to fix this undesirable predicament was to brew our own. Consequently in April 2007 BrewDog was born."

Why did you decide to mentor through Tesco BackIt?

Tesco have and continue to be supportive of BrewDog particularly in the early years, at BrewDog we like to give something back and supporting BackIt provides a great way to nurture talent.

What was your business breakthrough moment?

Winning the Tesco Beer Challenge was most definitely a pivotal moment for BrewDog.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Quality is quickest way to grow our business

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Propercorn

PROPERCORN started in Cassandra’s kitchen when she was 25. Since then, she and Ryan have built and led their team, working tirelessly to create a dynamic business, grounded in passion and excitement for popcorn. Since launching in Google headquarters in October 2011, PROPERCORN has emerged as one of the fastest growing brands in the UK, selling their six flavours of award-winning popcorn in a further nine countries around Europe.

Ryan Kohn: “Now we’ve started to enjoy some success with PROPERCORN in the UK, it’s our turn to share some of what we’ve learnt along the way through BackIt- we’re not all that far from the start ourselves, so hope that what we have to offer is fresh and credible advice for the exciting next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Why did you decide to mentor through Tesco BackIt?

Ryan: There is such an exciting culture of entrepreneurship and mentorship at PROPERCORN and it’s a passion that we’re always looking to share. Over the years, we’ve been incredibly lucky to have several mentors on hand and we now want to offer the same support to some of the UK’s most exciting new businesses.

What was your business breakthrough moment?

Cassandra: Getting into Google HQ, our very first stockist, has to be the breakthrough moment. It was a huge milestone that was two years in the making, and really gave us the confidence that we were onto something.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Ryan: It sounds fairly obvious, but it was being told to make a business plan. Even if it is a crude skeleton plan- as ours was in the beginning- considering what a successful year would look like gives you real focus. It will constantly evolve and you need to remain fresh and agile as a young business, but having goals to measure yourself against will keep you in check.

Cassandra: Another piece of advice was to uncompromisingly seek out brilliant people for our team, who are passionate and fully share our vision. We employ based on attitude not simply experience- the PROPERCORN team are the thing we’ve been most proud of in the last five years and they’ve helped build a brand that’s dynamic and grounded in authenticity.

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