Gareth Atkinson, The Yorkshire Meatball Co

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The Yorkshire Meatball Co. launched in 2014 as the UK's first premium meatball brand in the food-service and food-retail market. Over four years of operation, the business franchised it's restaurant model, launched a range of gourmet branded products into Morrisons, Tesco and ASDA stores nationwide, and achieved a listing in Startups.co.uk's '100 to watch' three years running. 

But the business was not without it's challenges; a restaurant market saturated by national chains, whose competitive pressure only continues to increase; a staffing market where the power of choice is truly in the hands of the chef; and retail buyers whose commercial targets are rarely aligned to the challenges of launching a brand with very little capital. 

As a Co-Founder alongside his father, Gareth's varied role included the development and creative direction of the brand, the planning, management and analysis of all marketing activity, and all design work for the brand across web, packaging, photography and video - in addition to overseeing the day-to-day operation of multiple restaurants and even running the kitchen as Head Chef for three month's. Now working as a Creative Strategist at Mr B & Friends in Bristol, Gareth will share insight on looking beyond the business plan to build a strong and compelling brand that can carry you through the tough times, open new doors, allow you to pivot and stretch across categories, and crucially let you shout louder and build additional interest with investors. 

Tara Sundramoorthi