James Howie, Appa Consulting
My grandfather was a prisoner of the war during World War II and when he returned home in 1945 he and two of his close friends founded Merrydown, a cider business which grew to become the biggest cider exporter in UK. This nostalgic admiration and respect for what he had achieved led me to pursue a career in food and drink following my graduation from Newcastle University in 2011.
I was fortunate enough to be introduced the founders of PROPERCORN, a completely organic start up that grew from nothing to a business valued at 25M, in only 5 years of trading. As the second sales person in the business I was a huge part of driving this growth. I specialised and led trade with distributors and within foodservice, an area which accounted for 25% of the company's total revenue and was delivering over 3M annually by 2017. In March I set up Appa Consultancy with the aim to help small companies enter the market with sales strategy, specialising in setting up distribution networks in the UK and Europe. My two executional roles at present are with Deliciously Ella, where I have managed to establish a business that will annualise to 300-500K after 6 months of working with the team. The other client Our Little Rebellion, I am launching into the UK & Irish market in September. Outside of direct sales projects I am helping the Welsh Government and also in the process of founding a brand of my own.