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UK is the best place for start-ups, says Innocent boss

Start-up companies in the UK are well placed to become multinational brands, according to Richard Reed, the co-founder of Innocent Drinks.

Innocent Drinks started out as a stall at a music festival before the founders left their jobs and became a fully-fledged fruit juice and smoothie business.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, Reed acknowledged the difficulties involved in setting up and growing a business, but added “I can’t think of a better country to be doing it in than the UK.”

UK has a friendly environment for entrepreneurs

“It is unbelievably liberal in terms of all of the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ – just the sheer lack of hoops you have to jump through to get to start a business,” he said.

This is partly due to the ease of access to money and people, and also because of the lack of legislative backbone. While it can take months to start a business in other countries, in the UK it can take as little as one.

Support from others is most contributing factor

“Everyone’s in your corner, big companies want to help out small companies, experienced old business people want to help out young business people, just the sort of the classic British values of kindness, generosity, interest, curiosity – they massively intangibly support you as an entrepreneur,” said Reed.

He attributes some of Innocent’s success to their early adoption of technology used to analyse data: their decisions on how much juice to make were based on real-time supply chain and sales data.

They were also early users of the internet for marketing and receiving feedback.

“We were essentially blogging since 1999,” said Reed. “The company was formed through the whole culture of having a conversation between us and our consumers.”


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