Theadora Alexander is co-founder of Young Foodies, the largest community of the UK’s fastest growing and most exciting FMCG brands, providing members with expert knowledge, grassroots experience and first class industry resource to help make the everyday easier for ambitious challengers. Young Foodies was launched just 2 years ago and already has over 700 brand members on board, and the business continues to expand rapidly to accommodate their needs.
Theadora graduated from Cambridge University in 2011, with a starred first in BA (Hons) Geography. After university Thea was financially trained with a background in equity capital markets. After scoping out the finance industry Thea gained relevant experience and insight into the food and drink industry by becoming the Operational and Strategy Director at Propercorn, one of the most exciting start-ups at the time, helping to grow the business from 5 people to 50, and from just a couple of pallets of product to 3 million bags per month across 10 countries.
Having left Propercorn in 2016, and inspired by the highs and lows of start-up life, Theadora identified a unique market opportunity to help nurture and grow other young food and drink businesses with the network she wished she had had. And that’s how the idea for Young Foodies was created. She joined forces with her co-founder Chris Green, formerly at Metcalfe’s Popcorn and other foodie start-ups, to bring the concept to life.
Thea has unwavering passion for transparency, commitment to fair competition and an inclusive approach to fostering a collaboration and contribution culture within the community. She is determined to give power to the innovators and set a fair and level playing field for them to thrive in. She and Chris are behind a major new campaign scheduled for launch in mid October 2019, aimed at bringing the Young Foodies mission to reality, by calling for all organisations within the F&B industry to make positive and practical business changes to better support young, growing challengers.
Brand members in the community are expertly nurtured to boost growth and performance, helping them solve everyday challenges, such as outsourced logistics, talent acquisition, learning and development, funding advice, legal guidance, operational excellence, and much more.
Thea has been highly focused on securing strategic industry partnerships and commercial alliances that will help to flatten and equalise the competitive landscape for young and big brands alike. These unique partnerships will set entirely new industry benchmarks, such as fairer pricing structures for brands of all sizes.
Young Foodies is now a very busy, well respected and welcoming open hub for FMCG SMEs to come together and flourish and is smashing all performance and financial targets.
Thea is seen as an industry thought leader and is regularly booked to speak at major events and comment in business, entrepreneurship and grocery media.
Nominee’s three achievements
Rapid business success and customer satisfaction:
Within just 2 years, Thea has steered Young Foodies from a kitchen table concept to a thriving business model with over 700 highly engaged founders of food and drink start-ups and scale ups, having captured the imagination and served the needs of some of the UK’s most talked about and innovative brands. Thea has applied a creative and highly efficient approach to building the welcoming and nurturing Young Foodies community, seamlessly introducing commercial business units designed in direct response to members’ actual business asks. This has resulted in exponential and extremely rapid growth, having smashed all financial and performance targets since launch. Using this effective model, Thea continues to innovate with new and exciting offerings that consistently generate huge waves of interest and member engagement, as well as 100% five star feedback on their services.
Winning prestigious awards:
Thea made a real splash in the industry with the initial announcement of Young Foodies, and it particularly won over the heart of the grocery industry’s No.1 leading trade magazine, The Grocer. They didn’t hesitate to award Thea the highly regarded ‘Top New Talent’ ranking at The Grocer Awards in 2017. And after only a year in business, Thea won Gold for ‘Best New Business’ and Silver for ‘Best Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the UK Business Awards in 2018. Thea was a finalist at the Best Business Women Awards in 2018 and a finalist at the National Business Awards in 2018.
Launching YF Funding:
In January this year, Young Foodies, partnered with Spayne Lindsay & Co., a leading consumer sector financial advisory firm, to launch YF Funding. The new platform aims to support small business owners with essential financial backing at their most critical growth phase, with a fundraising opportunity of £250,000 to £5m+. The move was in response to member insights that 37% of early-stage entrepreneurs cite investment and funding as an area of their business they feel the least confident in. 83% say that fundraising is a real cause of anxiety .
YF Funding recognises and is actively responding to these very human trepidations when it comes to entrepreneurs seeking investment. It’s wholly understandable, considering that 50% of founders in FMCG have never worked in the industry before. YF Funding is committed to building a community of investors who are truly passionate about challenger brands, such as Ben Clarke, former CEO of Burtons Biscuits, former Managing Director of Kraft Foods UK, and an active angel investor, who is one of the first investors to join. They will be carefully matched with relevant and exciting investment opportunities. This targeted approach is how YF Funding aims to become the platform of choice for the consumer investor community.
The launch of YF Funding was announced in a brilliant article in The Times and across multiple leading food and drink industry titles, and attracted hundreds of registrations, with a consistent steady stream of investors and brands signing up every day, and several funding raises signed, sealed and delivered.
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.