Bridge 2 Business Alumni Launch Crowdfunding For Innovative Water Bottles
Former Edinburgh College student Amee Ritchie, alongside her business partner Jake Elliott-Hook were supported by Bridge 2 Business back in 2018- their aim? To produce the first reusable water bottles made from plant-based material.
Amee & Jake tested their business idea through the use of the Bridge 2 Business Test Market Grant. This grant is up to £100, and enables college students to "test the market", before going full force into business!
"It was a pleasure to work closely with Amee & Jake. We worked hard together on many aspects of their business but helping them with their pitching skills was a big part of the work we did together. And, in the end they got the funding they were looking for after the pitch! I'm really proud of how far they have came!" says Lisa Wardlaw, Senior Programme Executive of Bridge 2 Business, who supported them both at Edinburgh College through the programme.
The creators of S'Wheat, are Crowdfunding to help launch their reusable water bottles made from plant-based material.
"We came up with S'wheat when we began to notice the growing concern for plastic pollution, and we weren't happy with the current choices for water bottles being plastic, steel and glass, as all of these take thousands of years to biodegrade," Jake explains.
With around 16 million plastic bottles end up in landfill every day in the UK alone, this plastic waste is causing havoc with eco-systems especially in the ocean. And as the current trend for eco-friendly and non-plastic products grows, Jake and Amee were keen to develop something to help with the plastic problem and shake up what was available on the market.
"The average water bottle user discards of their so called "reusable" bottle in less than a month, and then this ends up in landfill or the oceans along with the rest of single-use plastics, which defeats the purpose of reusable products." Jake continues.
Like most eco-conscious people, Jake and Amee wanted to move away from using plastic bottles not just due to the damage they cause on the environment but also because the numerous health studies that highlight how plastic leeches into the water it contains.
"We decided to create the S'wheat bottle, made from plant-based materials ensuring that it would biodegrade naturally if it ever ended up in landfill or the oceans," says Jake.
"The S'wheat bottle is not just different from reusable bottles due to its biodegradability but also due to its functionality.We found the main reason consumers threw away there current bottle was because they couldn't efficiently clean it, leading to a build up of bacteria creating odours or metallic tasting water.
"Therefore we engineered the S'wheat bottle to open at either end to allow for easy cleaning, which also reduces water consumption for cleaning by 70 per cent."
Made from bamboo and wheat straw, the S'wheat bottles will be naturally anti-bacterial and anti-odour.
Jake and Amee hope to raise £10,000 to fund their first production run of bottles, which will be available in three colours.
There are ten reward packages available on the Crowdfunding page, that range from a £10 donation and thank you email to a £45 or more donation S'wheat Duo, in which contributors will receive two S'wheat Bottles in the colours of their choice.
Jake says: "We took to Crowdfunder in the hopes of raising £10,000 which will help fund our first production run and get the S'wheat Bottle our into the world.
"However, we really need your help to hit our goal of £10,000 and as a thank you we have lots of rewards available on our Crowdfunder page, you can even buy yourself a S'wheat Bottle!"
Edinburgh has been key to Jake and Amee's business thanks to the support they have received.
"Being an Edinburgh based company has been a huge advantage to us, we have had so much support from organisations across Edinburgh encouraging us to push on.
"We have received awards from: The Hunter Foundation, Edinburgh Merchant Company, Princes Trust, Firstport, Unltd, Bridge to Business and many more. So we are very thankful to be based in Edinburgh," Jake explains.
As for the future?"If we manage to hit our £10,000 goal on Crowdfunder we can get the S'wheat bottle to market and start reduce the amount of plastic and steels that end up in our landfill and oceans," says Jake.
If like Amee & Jake you have a business idea, and are currently studying at one of our 10 colleges in Scotland, please get in touch - we're here to help!
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or take a look at our interactive map on the homepage, and find your college Programme Executive!